Have I mentioned that I, my husband, and stepson, are taking ice-skating lessons? We go every Wednesday evening to our respective classes, and on Fridays, we come for open rink time. All this, and I don't own a decent pair of skates. As awful and uncomfortable as the rental skates are, my own cheap skates, I've discovered, are worse. To get a decent pair, I'm told, involves more than two hours of driving. I should be prepared to spend upwards of $150 and three or four hours getting them properly fitted. I hesitate to do it. After all, I keep thinking, what if I get pregnant and don't skate again for years? Or ever? Do I really want to invest so literally in a life that assumes it's never going to happen? Besides, there must be infinite better ways to spend that time and money.
B~ and J~ both have inexpensive hockey skates, but they are beginners, and happy with what they have. In the short time they've skated, B~ has advanced from clinging to the nearest solid object, feet flying out from under him in all directions, to circling the rink all on his own, albeit in a nervous, chin-forward hunch. J~ has gone from said nervous hunch, gripping my hand so hard my fingers hurt, to a relaxed, upright, independent glide. Occasionally he'll move to the center of the rink to attempt backwards skating, drawing his feet apart and together again, carving slow hourglass patterns into the less-traveled ice.
I spend most of my rink time in that center area, working on figure-skating basics: the 3-turn, the Mohawk, backward cross-overs, two-legged spins. Last night, I admired one of my more advanced classmates, H~, for launching up off his left skate going forward, and coming down on the right, gliding backwards. "I think it's called a toe-jump," he told me. "If you can add three hundred sixty degrees to the spin, it might be a single toe-loop." We both laughed at that one. It's unimaginable.
H~ showed me how he first learned the jump, by practicing against the boards, placing a hand against the wall to steady himself on landing. "Use your arms for momentum. Throw your leg forward," he encouraged, and I did, leaning heavily on the wall for support. By the end of the evening, I was risking little jumps, awkwardly, not always successfully, without touching the wall. One time I tried it away from the wall entirely, and when I didn't chicken out, and didn't fall either, I was like a triumphant kid, wishing Mom was there to see.
So I made a decision: I'm going to buy good skates first thing Monday.
Who knows what the future holds. Maybe I will get pregnant, and maybe I'll hang up those expensive custom-fitted skates. Or maybe I'll find a little baby helmet and learn to skate with an infant strapped to my chest. Or even better: maybe I'll get my Mom to come along, ostensibly to hold her grandchild, but really to admire my grace and prowess on the ice.
Then again, maybe I won't ever conceive. But I'll learn to spin on one leg, and master a toe jump, the as of yet unimaginable single toe-loop, perhaps. Although certainy incomparable to the adventure of pregnancy and parenting, wouldn't that also be great?