I thought I had a few more years before this hit.
My husband is scared spitless. I'm afraid I'm not much better off.
Girls. Hormones. Emotional gymnastics.
I took the girls and their friend roller skating today since they had the day off school. That sounds like fun, right?
Everyone happily gathered their roller skates, piled into the van, and off we went.
We entered the rink and all the memories from the 80's and 90's came rushing back. The disco balls, the loud music, the carpeted walls, even the radio-voiced DJ announcing games like the hokey pokey and limbo.
The girls put their skates on and were off. But not to skate. Oh, no, off to the arcades, of course. I really could've saved the admission price and just given them that money to spend on ski ball and such. Whatever.
While they were gone, I people watched. I couldn't help but notice the 40 something couple skating like pros in the middle of the rink. We all know the middle is where the REALLY cool, REALLY good skaters hang out. They didn't seem to have any children with them and were really living it up out there, dancing and showing off their moves. I am a really terrible person, but I found it kinda funny, especially the fact that they were both holding white hand towels for some reason. Were the towels to mop the sweat from their brows? Were they just keeping towels handy in case they needed to wash their hands? I was puzzled, until I noticed that the towels seemed to be for the sheer purpose of swinging them around, further scoring 'cool' points. They were using them kind of like a cowboy would use a lasso or a dancer would use a scarf as a prop.
Oh, to have that kind of inhibition. But I'm pretty sure my girls will one day be thankful I am not that bold.
My youngest returned and was ready to skate. I tightened her Tinkerbell velcro skates, held her hand, and stepped out onto the rink. Ten minutes later, we finished our first lap.
As we came upon the cool lockers, I found my daughter sitting on the floor with her head in her hands, obviously crying. We went to go investigate the problem.
She looked up at me with tear-stained cheeks and said, "Everybody hates me."
I spent about the next 15 minutes trying to figure out what had happened, but conversation is not easy when Justin Bieber and Vanilla Ice are blaring through the speakers.
I tried everything I could think of to cheer her up. We finally moved past the "everybody hates me" tears to the "I'm ruining it for everyone" tears. These were followed by, "I want to have fun but I can't stop crying and I don't know why" tears.
Oh, boy. I began having visions of the next 16 years or so at my house with tween and adolescent girls. I suddenly had a tiny bit of understanding for why my husband surprised us and brought a male dog home earlier this year (I said understanding, not agreement). He's fearful of all the drama in our home.
Meanwhile, the 40-something professional skaters were still at it. Sometimes the woman would skate in the middle by herself while her partner took a break. Then the man would come out and show his cool moves to all the 10-year-olds skating around him. All the while, both kept their white hand towels with them, swinging them and jiving to the Miley Cyrus songs.
I finally got my child settled down. She never did admit that not everybody hates her, but at least she wasn't sobbing with her head in her hands. As we got ready to leave, the DJ announced that the next song was "by request". The lights turned down low, the white strobe gently circled the wooden floor, and the most classic roller skating song ever played over the speakers. Bet you can guess...
We sat and watched the couple slow skating, arm in arm and gazing into each other's eyes, all around the rink.
It occurred to me that the skating rink brings out the hormones in everyone. Little girls, big girls, grown men, it doesn't matter.
Maybe I'll surprise my husband with a romantic date to the skating rink. I have lots of hand towels we could use. I'd be worried that the rink will be crowded on a Friday or Saturday night, but then again, all the girls will be crying, anyway.