Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Riding a Bike on Your Feet

I didn't think we'd make it more than one time around. It was slow going; she held onto the outside railing with her right hand and my right hand with her left. Thankfully when we'd come upon a group of kids clumped against the railing, they'd move along to let us pass before we had to say "excuse me."

And it was super hot inside. No air conditioning. Only the front and back doors were open to draw air through, and a few ceiling fans near the front entrance. That helped when we were near either entrance, but it was still the hottest day of the year so far for us outside, which made it really hot inside.

So, after one time around, and falling once, both our faces were wet with sweat, and poor Beatrice's face was beet red. We certainly picked the wrong day to teach her how to roller skate at the Santa Cruz Roller Paladium.

That's not exactly true though, because it's always the right time to learn something new, even when you're uncomfortable. Before we had children, I never would've enjoyed overheating in a roller rink; I never would've gone skating on such a hot day. But it barely crossed my mind as I only thought about helping Beatrice learn how to skate. I knew she wanted to finally learn because of an upcoming birthday party she was invited to at this same very rink. So, the Mama (what I lovingly call my wife) and our youngest, Bryce, went shopping, and Bea and I went to the roller rink. We'd all meet up together again later in the day.

Bea was nervous, but determined. "But what if I fall?" she asked me.

"You will fall," I said. "And then you just keep working on your balance. Keep feeling your weight on your skates; the more balanced you get, the easier it will be to lift your feet and skate."

"Don't let go," she said.

"I won't."

We made it one time around the rink and then took a break to cool down and drink some water.

"Dad, why is it so hot?"

"I know, right? Because there isn't any air conditioning in here. Keep drinking water."

Bea hung her head and said, "I want to go."

"I get it, sweetie, but the only way to learn is to keep practicing. You do want to learn, right?"

"Yes, I do."

"Remember when you finally learned to balance on your bike?"


"And now you ride it like a champ, right?


"It's like that, only now you have four wheels on each foot."


And with that, we went around again, slowly. As we completed our second lap, sweating and puffing along the way, and Bea falling again, I told her about when I first learned to roller skate around her age. I told her how it took a few times to feel balanced and comfortable, and then ever since, and even now at 52, I've never forgotten how to skate. I told her about all my pre-teen and teenage years skating at Roller Towne where I grew up in Visalia, CA. And how her mother used to skate at a place called Skate Ranch when she was young in Milan, IL. And how we even skated with Bea in the Mama's belly, and then again when she was a year and a half at Roller Towne after one of my high school reunions.

Beatrice and I were only at the roller rink for an hour, and in that time she made it around five times. The last two times she even started to not hold onto me as much, and then letting go of the railing, and she started to learn how to move her feet with greater balance and control.

"See, I told you. It gets a little easier each time. Do you want to come again next week to practice some more?"

"Yes, I do."


"Dad, you’re right. It is like learning to ride a bike, except on your feet."

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