Sunday, 10 March 2013

Get your skates on!

Today is Mother's Day and it has been perfect. Woken with big grins bearing cake and cards and breakfast in bed - tea and pancakes - and kisses. Sproglette wished me 'happy birthday' all day. I got taken for a slap up roast at Husband's work and had more hugs than I could wish for. Yet last night, well, it was my first glimpse into the future, and with that in mind, I write with a small lump in my throat.

I will explain: You see, last night I took Sproglet to his first ever Roller Disco. This is a watershed moment in anyone's life. the moment one laces up their day glo boots and strides out onto the busier than Hyde Park corner rink - ready to bust some skating moves.

Now the last time I was roller disco-ing was about ohhhhhhhhhhh 1983. 'The Big Apple' opened in Belfast to much fan fare and delight from anyone aged between 7 and 15. I genuinely thought Kagagoogoo's 'hit' song 'Life in the Big Apple' was dedicated to this darkened hall - replete with disco lights and a glitter ball. I will never forget an afternoon there with Joanne B and Linda B, when my dull Saturday was utterly transformed by the arrival of several boys from our class. After much cajoling, they agreed to skate around with us - only to fall on their asses. Colin and Allen were no natural skaters. They clung to the sides, unable to let go while we whizzed around, even using our stoppers. They were forced to hold sweaty hands with us - just to save themselves from breaking a limb.

This all came back to me last night when my 6 year old son shoved his feet into the lace up boots and then wobbled like a just-birthed foal. He was beyond excited and clearly expected to just pop on these skates and speed off. He was disappointed to discover that there is some skill required in standing, let alone skating on wheels - and so my mate K and I had to hold him up and drag him around the floor. Six year olds aren't light. My back was killing me as I struggled to stop him careering backwards, doing the comedy wobble back, forward, back and then Wham! Straight on the butt! I tried explaining he needed to stay straight and bend his knees and all that stuff - even putting wrist and shin pads on him for the predictable falling - but over the loud din of Girls Aloud, he wasn't really listening to me.

Bam! He went down. Bam! Bam! Bam! Even leaning against the wall proved futile. I was shattered - trying to balance in my own skates and keep him afloat was wearing me out. When he fell - again - he started to cry and announced he wanted to go home. Then an angel called Jane, wearing a florescent jacket with 'steward' on it - came over and whisked him off round the rink - just twice - and returned to me a confident kid who wanted to let go off my hand and skate alone.

My baby duckling was pushing me off - going it alone to paddle through the speed skaters and conga loving train of giggling girls. Round and round he went - baby steps, not so much 'skating' than 'surviving.' Then I noticed his (ex?) 'girlfriend' there with her parents. She sped over to Sproglet - grabbed his hand and off they went - another girl in tow. They went round and round - picking him up after ever fall - eventually the other girl gave up gooseberrying and disappeared. So Sproglet skated hand in hand with his girl-friend as I watched at the side.

My little boy was practically all growed up! At 6! In that moment, sidelined, I saw the future. A future filled with his little heart being mashed to a pulp by girls that will skate in and out of his life... And some other girl will pick him up from those falls - and it won't be me. (Sob!).

But amidst all this self-indulgent mourning, was pride. Within an hour he was skating alone - confident, happy and loving life with his buddies. His Father only made it once round the Rockefeller ice rink in New York on our honeymoon and then announced he was done (having fallen over so many times much to the joy of the a packed restaurant, watching his every clumsy move). Sproglet was braver. As we left, he asked if he could get his own skates - and begged to come back. He waved goodbye to his chums and beamed. Then he reached for my hand and I took it, leading him out the doors and home. I held it tighter than usual. I'll be holding it extra tight from now on, until the time comes, when he wants me to let go. When he'll skate off on his own journey. Here's hoping it takes a while...



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahh lovely, I cried! He sounds like a lovely kid, you're doing a great job CM.
Martha xx