Divorce, Starting Over, and Lessons Learned from Ice Skates
My 5-year-old daughter is smart and sensitive. Things have come easily for her throughout preschool and kindergarten, for which I am grateful. She is happy, the teachers adore her, and she has good friends.
But—yes, there’s a “but”—already at five, she is reluctant to try anything new because she doesn’t want to be anything less than perfect.
The issue at hand? Ice skating.
She’s been chattering about learning to skate for months, but now that the class session is approaching, she’s decided that she wants nothing to do with it. She's petrified of other people laughing at her, and I definitely can empathize with her. Let’s face it. None of us wants to look foolish.
Having gone through a divorce this past year, I feel like I’m having to learn everything again from scratch . I knew how to do my old life; I was a nonprofit fundraiser with a career track. I was a stay-at-home mom—a member of a two-parent household. My social circle consisted of other moms, fellow volunteers, and writers. My roles were well defined.
Everything is different now, and I can identify with that 5-year-old who is convinced that people are secretly waiting for her to fall down.
I’ve had to completely rethink my career schedule and focus. I’ve stretched both my household roles and my parenting roles. Now that so much of my time is embedded with my kids and work, my social identity is extremely difficult to unravel, but conversely, there are also stretches of time when my house is completely empty.
The silver lining to my own upheaval is that there are many opportunities to provide lessons to my daughter, one of those being that the only way to grow is to take a risk. And yes, sometimes people will laugh—and that’s OK.
As someone known for falling down often, I enrolled in my own ice skating class. I’ll admit it. Once the door to the ice opened and they told me that the adults were meeting on the far side of the ice, I wanted to bolt rather than find a way to hobble my way across the ice in front of everyone.
I made it across—staggering, uncoordinated, and awkward. My classmates were friendly and supportive, and a few of us even rambled on about how terrible at skating we were, attempting to mask that unspoken “Please don’t judge me. I have no idea what I’m doing out here.”
By the end of class, my smile was broad. I’ve already made a mental list of rinks where I want to take my daughter, not only so she can practice, but so she can also see me stumble, fall, and laugh it off.
It’s scary to be five and facing a new challenge, and it's hard readjusting to a new lifestyle, but if we're doing things right, we’ll continue to stretch beyond our comfort zone throughout our lives. No matter how my daughter’s first skating lesson goes, I’ll be waiting in the bleachers, ready to celebrate with hot chocolate.
Have you had to start over recently? How do you help your children overcome their fears as they are getting older?