"Mommy, where are we going today?"
It's Saturday. And usually I have something planned for us to do since I'm trying to make the most out of our summer staycation, but today I've got nothing.
"Umm... I dunno. What do you think we should do?"
"We could go skating at Pier 2."
He's only been skating once before with his
very expensive summer camp and he loved it. As he should because it's costing me a million bucks it's supposed to be a magical experience. But... He didn't actually learn how to skate that time. I could already see him falling 20 times, but what the heck... It's summer! I'm here for it.
"Sure! Let's do it!"
A few hours later, we're at the skating rink and, as I'm getting our tickets and gear, Aiden declares, "I'm gonna learn to skate today."
"That's great! All you have to do is keep trying."
He goes around the rink with the skate walker and, as I predicted, he falls down about 15-20 times within the first half hour. Each time, I flinch and wait for the tears. But they never come. He just gets back up again, grabs onto his walker, and keeps going.
I give him some pointers to help him glide and balance better. (I've known how to skate since I was a kid.) Keep your feet hip width apart. Bend your knees. When you see yourself losing your balance, stop pushing your feet and just glide. Back up straight. Look forward. There you go. You got this!
After a while, he chucks the skate walker to the side and attempts to skate on his own. To no avail. He falls. Hard. I flinch. I brace myself for the tears. They never come. He gets back up, shrugs his shoulders, and says, "I thought I could balance on my own." Then he laughs. Then he grabs the skate walker for a little more practice.
He keeps going. He's sweaty and scarred, but he only leaves the rink once -- for a drink of water. When he gets back into the rink, he gives the skate walker to one of the staff members. He puts on his wrist band and starts going. Slowly and carefully. Then he picks up speed and goes around once. Without the walker. Without falling.
Then he goes around again. And again. And again.
He falls two or three times within the next hour, but he gets back up again and keeps going. He's got a look of focus on his face and he means business.
Determination. To the tenth power.
I'm so proud of him. Not just because he's learning to skate, but because he keeps going. He doesn't give up. He's got it in him to do the damn thing. Everything. Anything that he wants to do. All I can do is stare in awe and, of course, videotape it. This is a moment that I'll want to remember.
And please believe I'm gonna use this as an example for everything else that he finds hard.
When he's frustrated with tying his shoes? Remember that time you were so determined that you learned how to skate?
When he's struggling to sound out big words? Remember that time you preserved so you could learn how to skate?
When he wants to quit a sport because "it's too hard!" Remember that time you kept trying and trying... and you learned how to skate? Remember how proud you felt? Remember the big smile on your face? Remember that you kept talking about it for days, saying, "I can't believe I learned how to skate!"
"Fall down seven times, get back up eight." The eight time is what makes the difference between success and failure. That level of perseverance and resilience is exactly what I intend to teach Aiden.