Skate away skate away skate away

I’m the big meanie who insists on regular, early bedtimes, because SOME children I know tend to be EXTREMELY CRANKY when they don’t get enough sleep. And I find school mornings challenging enough without having to pry people out of bed while they complain that they’re far too tired to get up. It’s enough to get everyone to pack up their bags and remember their lunches and change their socks (don’t ask, seriously), so bedtime is sacred.

Except that the last couple of weeks have pretty much sucked mightily. Certain excretory substances we won’t discuss in polite company are hitting oscillating air dispersing devices as regards the fate of our school district, and this has resulted in some interesting repercussions even for RIGHT NOW (and by “interesting” I of course mean “suckass”), and then of course there is the small matter of lightning striking twice in the most unfair of ways, and trying to cope with my own feelings while helping the kids deal with theirs.

So last night we went to Skate Night.

Honestly, I didn’t know that roller rinks and faux-leather boots outfitted with four fat wheels and a giant pencil-eraser of a toe ornament still existed. But apparently they do, and while it may not be the be-all and end-all haven of coolness that it was back when I was in middle school, periodically the school declares it to be Skate Night and you can hit the rink and the school gets some of the money.

We’ve never gone before. Walking in there last night was like stepping back into 1982, and suddenly I wanted to slip my retainer into my purse before any cute boys saw me wearing it. Whoa. Fortunately there have been two important changes since the days when I skated over to the soda machines and spent five minutes trying to dig the change out of my skin-tight jeans: First, the music is still awful, but at least it’s more modern awful music; and second—at least last night, anyway—it no longer appears to be the whole awkward-school-dance mentality presented on wheels. There were no “slow” songs and none of the “games” had to do with pairing off or choosing people to skate.

My children had an absolute blast, which was just what this mama’s heart really needed, and I had a great time because it turns out that neither of my children know how to skate.

Think about that for a minute. They had the time of their lives, but neither of them can actually skate. Not that that stopped either of them from trying.

I took up my spot with a group of parents shortly after we arrived. “If this night doesn’t end with a trip to the Emergency Room, I’ll consider it a success,” I said. Only a couple of minutes of watching my kids pinwheel their arms and flail about had me certain that it would be all fun and games right up until someone broke an arm. But I waited. And they flailed. And they fell. Repeatedly. And they jumped up grinning, and did it all over again.

Chickadee went off with her friends and stayed as far away from me or her brother as possible, as quickly as possible. She deigned to come back when pizza was offered, but the message that I was not needed or welcome this evening was broadcast loud and clear. I reminded myself that back when I was her age, I used to get dropped at the rink for hours at a time, and probably would’ve found a lurking parent beyond mortifying. So I kept my distance and pretended not to watch her picking her way slowly around the rink, leaning on her friends for support, laughing and waving to her classmates, and just generally doing exactly what a kid her age should be doing.

Monkey and his pals flailed their way along the wall looking for all the world like the Three Stooges, only smaller. And drunker. They would hang in clumps of twos and threes, and when one finally succumbed and fell, it invariably triggered a chain reaction of tripping and twisting, and more than once I had to cover my eyes as a flying skate came within grazing distance of a head. But each time they popped right back up, trying to breathe through their laughter, waving back to us moms and then continuing on their way.

We stayed out past bedtime. When I finally called for them to turn in their skates, they were both sweaty and starting to tire, and so no one argued. We made our way out to the car and headed for home.

“That was like, the most fun EVER!” said Chickadee. “Can we come again?”

“Can we come again TOMORROW?” chimed in Monkey.

I chuckled, and told them we’d have to see, but that sure, we’d probably come again.

This morning they both had some new bruises, and Chickadee says her wrists hurt, and neither of them was moving particularly quickly as we went through our morning routine. But for a little while last night, for the bargain price of $3 apiece, the most pressing issue in our lives was just standing up. And even when that was a challenge, no one really cared.

It was a most excellent respite, and a good reminder.


  1. MomCat

    Good to have even a momentary distraction from the sucky school sitch. Love your euphemistic turn of phrase. I guess you aren’t the school district’s biggest fan, so maybe you won’t have to duck.

  2. Jamie AZ

    Sounds like a fantastic night to me; what fun!

  3. Jenn

    We used to go skating all the time and BOY, did I ever suck, but it was so much fun! The last time I went, a girl who I was paired with for First Communion tried to steal money from my friend and me. Good times!

    (And yes, one of our trips to the skating rink did end up with a trip to the emergency room, my sister fell coming out of the rink and caught her chin on a metal strip. My sister is the Queen of Freak Accidents.)

  4. Tammy

    Aaah, the skating rink. Brings back fond memories of slushies and nachos and air hockey. Glad you had fun!

  5. Dustin

    Ah, but did they play the song “Wipeout”?

    Because that reminds me of rollerskating every time I hear it, which, thankfully, is not very often.

  6. kd@abitsquirrelly

    We found a skating rink about a mile from our new place. The kids have been begging to go, now I really want to take them!

  7. Barbara

    Well done, Mir. Again. You the good Momma.

    Sad to read you are voluminously unhappy with the school district again. There you are probably known as the Momma from H*ll. I will read about that with interest, too.

  8. exile on mom street

    Hooray to outings that don’t end in the ER!

    And to Mommas who understand the need to stay out past bedtime every now and again.

  9. Scottsdale Girl

    I hated when they played the hokie pokie. Srsly.

    But man was I a rockstar at the rink…when I was 12. And all legs and arms. *sigh*

  10. Keyona

    Oh that sounds like fun. Me and my girl will be iceskating this weekend, I’ll have to remember to bring her knee pads! :o)

  11. Burgh Baby

    That post just sent me down memory lane’s path, and it’s full of things like the Hokey Pokey on rollerskates and loads and loads of fun. I now look forward to a date with the Toddler at the roller rink in a few years. Thanks!

  12. dad

    I remember not being able to skate, but going to the rink was still a gas. It was difficult for me because your mother had been the grand champion of street skating in Brooklyn. She could go really fast and skate backwards and everything.

    So much for my theory that those skills are genetic and skip a generation.

  13. kath

    I have never rollerskated but we used to go to the arena. I would get dropped off with a bit of money, my skates and my friends. I remember skating to the Supremes, hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup and sweet tarts candy.
    Thanks for reminding me. I had not thought about it in a long time.

  14. Megan

    So. much. sympathy on the school issue – really. Child 1 went to 9 schools – NINE – including four grade schools that went: excellent; Angels Are Singing Fantastic; dreadful; acceptable, and after the dreadful one even good. But the very worst was moving the last time and having to put my kids in the same truly, deeply, unbelievably awful school that I went to. In middle school. A school so bad it failed its tests in every subject for five years running (don’t know about before that) – failed so badly it didn’t even make borderline in a single subject. Broke my heart. Still breaks my heart and they’re in a great school now. So, I hope that somehow, some way (probably with much weeping, wailing, gnashing and THREATENING), the school thing is sorted.

    Oh, and really? They have rinks with those same funky-smelling skates? So I still have a chance to break my arm if I really want to…

  15. Lori

    Oh my gosh, I miss skating. Shoot the duck? The bunny hop? Good times. We’re doing an 80’s theme for Relay for Life this year and I’m now planning an all skate lap. And like you, if that lap ends without a trip to the Emergency Room, I’ll consider it a success.

  16. Flea

    Sounds wonderful. I’m not a lurker, though. I drop the kids off, wave goodbye, then head to a local coffee shop till time to pick them up. They know my cell number. :)

  17. Katie in MA

    Good on you!

    Now, here’s my $3 – where do I sign up? :)

  18. Kristen

    This is funny. I, too, thought roller rinks had gone by the wayside. Just yesterday my 5 year-old-old got an invitation to a birthday party for her soon-to-be-5-year-old friend, and the party is at a roller rink. I can only imagine all of the broken bones that will come out of that party.

  19. Jane

    I’m going right now to google “roller skating rink”!! I used to get dropped off too, twice a week for YEARS. Had my own skates…it’s good for the soul. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Deb

    I love to skate! I lived at the rink as a kid and then was thrilled when my Bubby’s school had skating parties! That is until I fell and fractured a bone in my back..oh well! LOL I still go and they all pick on me but I love love love to go.
    And kids are resilient…they fall and get right back up. Not so for adults ;-)

  21. ChristieNY

    I’m sorry to hear about things with Nightingale, I had hoped for better news. :(

    But roller skating sure offers a welcome distraction! A family that plays together, stays together, or something like that… right? Have fun watching the kids play, good family fun that they’ll always remember.


  22. just beaux

    I loved skating. When my daughters turned 8 or 9 I dragged them to the skating rink and taught them how to skate. Well…not really. But I made sure they had the right shoe size on. What fun.

  23. Cele

    OH I adored skating when I was a kid, a tween, a teen, and evening when I went to beauty college.

  24. momzen

    SO MANY GOOD MEMORIES! My trigger song is “Downtown” by Peaches & Herb, where you “shoot-the-duck” everytime they say the word. Oh My! Thanks for the reminder. Wonder if there are any rinks around here?

  25. Lorraine

    We had school skating night last night! My little darlings were just as hopeless on skates as I was (and still am…) and, unbelievably, had way more fun than I remember. Hokey Pokey and Chicken Dance and, yes, Wipeout–what a blast from the past. Can’t wait til next year. Because it will be a year until I get on skates again!

  26. Heather Cook

    Hey! We’re going to Skate Night tomorrow night. I hope it turns out as well!

  27. Trish/Astrogirl426

    Oh! I hadn’t thought about the rollerrink in ages . So much fun. Thanks for the reminder. And I really need to take Bunker Monkey – they did a skate at his elementary school a couple months ago, and he LOVED it (skating in the gym…who knew?).

  28. Jackie Joy

    I was…born…in 1982. But we still had skate nights when I was a preteen/teen in the nineties. And yes, I would’ve hated my mom for years if she’d hung around.

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