“Push the shopping cart, Push the shopping cart.” I thought I said it in my head, but when my daughter snorted, “Mommy, please stop saying ‘push the shopping cart’,” I realized I was saying it all out loud. Ooops.

Rewind a month… “I’m going to learn to ice skate if it kills me,” I told myself.

My daughter was the impetus to my whole ice skating goal. She wanted to learn to ice skate so I jumped at the chance to do it with her. What better way to bond right? I had strapped on a pair of ice skates exactly one time in my life, and back then, I was an age where I bounced when I fell; not the age I am now where I lay, post-fall, on the ice, gingerly moving each appendage and trying to remember what my co-pay amount is.

My husband can ice skate… he can do it very well and very fast.

He glides; I inch along like an octogenarian with a walker until I run into something.

He can cross over; if I want to turn, I run into something and push off in the opposite direction.

He can stop; if I want to stop, I run into something… are you catching the pattern here?

But for some reason, our daughter thought it would be a good idea if I taught her.

We tried both the outdoor rinks that pop up in some parks when the conditions are right. We tried an indoor rink – The Steel Ice Center in Bethlehem – which is open year round, has rentals, and has public skating sessions a few times a week. But no matter where you skate, I’ve learned you will see the same categories of skaters.

There is the beautiful mom who is out on center ice, dressed like she just fell out of a catalog, drinking an Iced, Half-Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4 Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte. She is ALSO skating backwards AND smiling encouragingly AND praising her daughter. How can she do all of that at the same time? Jealous much? You betcha.

Here’s my stance: unless you have an Olympic Gold Medal around your neck… do NOT talk on the phone and skate.

There is the 8-year-old boy who skates at Mach 1 speed, wipes out in a way so epic it is worthy of ESPN highlights, jumps up unscathed and smiling and takes off again… going Mach 1.

There is the adult male beginner. A gutsy move on his part. He, like the 8-year-old boy, spends a lot of time skating at a high rate of speed; however, the adult male beginner crashes into the boards to stop, BUT in a sly move of self preservation, he makes it look like he was just taking that opportunity to get a closer look at the advertising sign on the board. Nice try.

There is the teenage couple in love, holding hands and skating circle after circle seeing no one expect each other.

There are the youth hockey players who travel in packs. You can hear the rumble of them coming and you are convinced this is your last moment on this sweet earth because they will certainly careen into you sending you to your untimely demise. BUT, at the last second, with precise talent and turning, they veer around you and you are saved. Until 45 seconds later when you hear the rumble of them coming and you are convinced this is your last moment on this sweet earth.

There are the skaters who talk on the phone. Yeah. What in the name of holy icicles is so important that you have to chat on your phone while ice skating? Here’s my stance: unless you have an Olympic Gold Medal around your neck do NOT talk on the phone and skate.

And finally, there are the moms who are trying their best to skate beside their kids who are trying their best to skate. Ding-Ding… that’s us. We are sweating, getting shin splints by the second, and some of us are on the verge of tears (not saying who), but still we persevere. It takes 20 minutes to do a single lap, we are pretty sure our skates are 4 sizes too small, and the next time my husband whizzes by and asks, “How are we doing,” I’m going to trip him.

But – by a stroke of divine intervention – someone took pity on us, and I have dubbed that someone the Angel of the Ice. Angel lady skated up to me and said, “Wow. Would you guys like some pointers?” In hindsight, I can only imagine how pitiful we must have looked for her to start her sentence with “Wow.” But, I scream, “YES!” And in 30 seconds, the Ice Angel had us on the right track. Bend your knees, slant your skates, push off with one foot and hold your arms out like you are pushing a shopping cart.

Ahhhh haaaaaaa we’ve got it. And, it’s quite fun.

So – go ice skating! Go now, go in June, go next winter. Give it a try. And if you see a person slowly making her way around the rink muttering, “Push the shopping cart. Push the shopping cart,” over and over like Rain Man, tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey!”

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