Slipping On The Ice

IMG_1383There’s a movie called Frozen that came out this year. Have you heard of it? (Subtle sarcasm intended.)

Thanks to my four year-old, my world has been filled with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, some letting it go and wanting to build a snowman for the last six months. On Saturday mornings we’ve usually watched it once…all the way through…by 9 a.m. We have dolls, music, coloring books and toys reminding us that some people are worth melting for.

When it was time to celebrate A’s fourth birthday, she wanted none other than a Frozen party where she could “skate like Elsa.” So, off to the local Ice House we went, with six of her friends…and their hesitant parents.

Skates on, I took her onto the ice and held her as her feet went in various directions underneath her. She was depending on me for balance, direction and safety. We went once around the ring and she got steadier. Twice around and my back was thanking her for the break as she stood upright and needed less of my help. A few more times around and she was skating while I was only holding her hand. She was in her Elsa moment and loving every second.

“Do you want to be brave and try skating on your own,” I asked?

“Yeah, then I can be just like Elsa,” A replied.

I turned to face her, skating backwards holding my hands out towards her as if I was waiting for her to walk to me for the first time, while she got used to standing and then began skating along on her own. She had taken a few strides and was so proud of herself.

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A few moments later, she lost her balance, her feet went out from under her, she landed with a plunk on her bottom and looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

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Even though she had seen many people falling throughout the day, Elsa doesn’t fall in the movie so she wasn’t supposed to fall. And as I picked her up, wiped her eyes and continued to skate in circles around the rink, I had the perfect opportunity to talk to her about how falling is a part of ice skating and that even the professional figure skaters fall. That learning will mean making mistakes and trying again and getting up after she falls. That it will be scary and it might hurt, but that it’s worth it to keep trying again so she can get stronger.

As I was talking to her, I realized I was talking about ice skating, but I sure as heck could have also been talking about life. Sometimes it’s slippery. Sometimes we can do it on our own and sometimes we need a little help staying steady. Sometimes just when we think we’ve gotten the hang of it, our legs slip out from under us, and we find ourselves landing with a plunk on cold ice. Sometimes the falls hurt. Sometimes it’s hard to get up from them. Sometimes it seems easier to just get off the ice.

A few laps later, she was ready to try again. After an hour, she was still going strong. So strong, she was pulling me around the rink as she ran on the ice and skated as fast as her little legs would carry her. And as we skated around and around and around, I was again amazed at how much I continue to learn from this little girl as I teach her about life and see the world through her eyes.

Just like ice skating, the only way we get stronger in life, the only way we go on is to get back up. To brush off the snow, wipe our hands and slowly, steadily put one foot in front of the other and try again. Because it’s worth it.

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