Earlier this year Nathan and I signed Topher up for skating lessons. He's been dreaming about playing hockey since he was old enough to walk. He was born in Oil Country, he bleeds copper and blue - heck, he even eats supper sitting below a framed photo of Nathan with Ryan Smyth!
We figured it was time.
Topher was ecstatic! Never mind that what he's actually enrolled in is beginners figure skating - he was convinced that he had already been drafted to the Oilers!
But skating wasn't as easy as Topher thought it would be. It's one thing to zip up and down the hallway with a plastic hockey stick while wearing knit slippers (his "indoor skates") - and entirely another to do the real thing, on real ice.
In his first lesson the coaches taught the kids how to fall down and how to get back up, first on mats and then on the ice. Topher was a pro - until he stepped onto the ice. For some reason, he just didn't get it. He did exactly what his coaches told him: get on your hands and knees, wag your tail like a dog, get one foot up, brace one hand on your knee and use the other to push off on the ice and stand up. Sounds easy enough!
But Topher couldn't do it.
Not in the first lesson, or the second, or the third. Eventually one of his coaches would help him to his feet so he could keep up with the other kids and do the other activities, but Topher was so cautious - so afraid to fall - that he would barely move.
Then one of the other kids would accidentally run into him and knock him over, and he would be back to Square 1, shaking his little bum in the middle of the rink, over and over and over.
Halfway through his fourth lesson, I was starting to wonder how much patience his teachers had. Would they recommend "remedial beginner skating lessons"? Was there such a thing?
But then HE DID IT.
He figured it out!
It might have taken him three and a half 45-minute lessons - most of which he spent on his knees - but he did it!
And I have never been more proud of my little man.
He didn't give up, not once.
Week after week after week ...
He practiced at home, he practiced at his grandparents' house, he recited the steps over and over and over.
He tried his hardest in every single lesson. He showed such dedication, such confidence. He knew he could do it - and he kept at it until he did.
He didn't give up.
Sometimes I give up entirely too easily.
I use my kids as an excuse, or my work, or the fact that I'm just too tired after a full day of dealing with both.
My passions are important - but clearly not that important, since they're so frequently pushed to the side.
Lately I've been thinking that I need to be more like my son. Not in the "throw a lying on the floor kicking and screaming tantrum because Mommy asked me to wipe my nose on a kleenex instead my sister's sweater" way, but in the single-minded focus on my goals way.
I can do it. I know I can do it - I just need to keep at it until I do.
No more excuses.