Breaking the ice

(Please pardon the quality of the shots. It's the thought that counts hehe).

I had fun watching my kids go ice skating last Friday. Josh, Sophie and Elmo were particularly excited because that trip had been postponed for an entire week on account of Sophie's fever and my terrible headache episodes. It was Elmo's birthday celebration, too. Their Ate Bea had classes until 430 in the afternoon and so she just caught up with us at the Mall of Asia. She was never crazy about skating in the first place.

I had warned the kids that they would not be gliding beautifully on the ice at once. And indeed they fell, and fell again. I observed them from the sidelines and I thought that how they tried to learn to skate spoke volumes about their individual nature.

Josh, for instance, was only skating for the second time. The first time he did, at Megamall six years ago, he was on the ice for thirty minutes. Last Friday, he managed to make a few tentative steps but returned to where I was, time and again, to ask me if he looked silly. My dude was ever self-conscious. Every now and then he dutifully checked up on his brother and sister,tying Elmo's shoelace that had come undone, and much later posed for pictures with them, but he in no way allowed them to cramp his style. He suggested, however, that I get the smaller ones coaches who would help start them off the right way. How thoughtful. How costly a suggestion, too. (Worth it though).

Sophie was as pretty and fragile as ever. I found myself always scouring the ice for her but spotting her at the periphery, hanging on to the yellow rails for step after painstaking step. Later on, she was trying to learn the lessons from Elmo's coach on her own, and she fell on her hip – I was never more thankful that I was there, standing at the exact spot where she expected me to be, when she looked up, in tears. After that fall she wanted to take a break-- the family went to the bay side for dinner and a stroll and some wacky picture-taking. Sophie was feeling much better when they returned (and stayed until closing time) after our hearty meal. She had her session with her coach then, and she became more confident.

Elmo, I thought, was the most transparent skater. I say transparent because if you observe him five seconds you would immediately know what sort of fellow he is. Even though it was his first time on the ice, he was in hurry to learn. One step came too soon after another. Jesus, was the kid learning how to run on ice? The result was that he fell quite often. His pants were soaked. Then he stood up again, and tried again. And fell again. Every time I saw him down on the ice I wanted to go there and pull him up. I was worried he might have hurt himself or soaked himself too much he would eventually get sick. I was wrong. The irrepressible Elmo was up again,before I could come any closer.

We all agreed they would return there another time-- perhaps after the first-quarter report cards are released, as a reward for their supposed hard work in the last three months. I think it's great that the flat rate of P300 enables one to stay on the ice for as long as one wants. I could probably just leave them there all day and do some strolling around, or working, or reading.

It was a good day. I look forward to when I can see my kids, not fledgling anymore, but gliding, almost flying if not for gravity.