Skating Sunday

It’s cold. The days are short. COVID is raging, again. We are back to living close to home and limiting our time with friends and family.

So when our daughters called last week to let us know that they would be coming home to celebrate their dad’s birthday, I was nothing short of ecstatic! The girls bring such light, energy, and laughter into our home, never mind the amazing food they create for these events! Near the end of the call, they mentioned that they were going to bring their ice skates home and were hoping that we could go skating on the pond in our neighborhood park.

My initial reaction was excitement. I grew up skating. There were two small ponds in the front yard of my childhood home. My sister and I spent most winter afternoons (It was definitely colder then.) skating and pretending we were Peggy Fleming (I know. That kind of dates me, doesn’t it?). I took lessons as a kid and then again when our younger daughter began to take lessons. I have always loved the feeling of freedom that comes from gliding across the ice.

But after a few minutes of working through these happy memories, a feeling of terror took over. Am I crazy to think I can still skate? It’s been at least 15 years since I last laced up. Can I still do it? Am I too old? Is it foolish? What if I fall? What if I hurt myself? What if I look like a complete idiot? Maybe I should just stand on the side of the pond and watch. I secretly wished that when Sunday came the ice would be too rough, or the weather would be too warm, so that I wouldn’t end up having to make a decision at all.

The morning dawned. It was cold. Really cold, and it had been cold for days. The sun was shining. It was, in fact, an absolutely perfect day for ice skating. After some deliberation, I decided to go for it. I decided to embrace my fear and take to the ice with the girls. After all, how many chances do I get to do something like this with my grown daughters? We bundled up. We walked down to the pond. We checked the ice in a few spots. We laced up. We pushed off. At first I felt tense. I felt myself holding my breath. I took small glides. Then a bit longer. Then longer still. I began to relax, and the child skater in me started to emerge. I skated forward. I skated backward. I even tried a few spins! The girls were gliding and jumping and spinning all around the ice. It felt so good. It felt so right. It made me feel young and capable and happy. I could have stayed on that ice all day long!

I’m so grateful that I embraced my fear and experienced the joy and freedom and thrill of ice skating with my girls on a gorgeous, sunny, cold January day.

The Januaries

I think I have a case of the Januaries.

I’m cold.

I’m tired.

I’m a little bit bored.

I’m eating too much.

Sleeping more than I need to,

And just feeling a bit low.

I am taking some time to think, reflect, and plan.

I am spending more time reading and writing.

I’m cooking a lot.

I’m actually getting somewhere on the afghan I’m crocheting for my daughter.

I’m even spending some time just being quiet.

Maybe there’s a place for the Januaries of our lives. Maybe I just need to hibernate a bit. Maybe I’ll come out in February feeling stronger and re-energized.

OLW, 2022

Dear Winter,

Thank you for the snowstorm, cold temperatures, and threat of rain and ice. You closed schools and kept me inside for a while. You gave me time to read and write and think. You gave me time to ponder, consider, reflect on, and finally choose, my OLW for 2022. As I read all of the emails and newsletters I had saved for a snowy day, I came across this gem by Ruth Ayres. She said that when she sends her children off in the morning, she recites this line with them: “Good things are going to happen to me and through me.” This is my new mantra. I need some hope (last year’s word). I need to believe that good things are going to happen to me. I also need to take action (last year’s word also (Yes, I picked two!)) and make sure that I am making good things happen in the world. So I’ve decided to pick a new word for 2022 that embodies both. Here it is….my OLW for 2022 is:

Belonging.

I am going to continue to work this year to search for spaces where I truly belong and to create spaces of belonging for others, especially for those people who are feeling isolated or oppressed.

Thank you for helping me arrive at my OLW,

Erika

What’s the Word?

It’s time for the TWT OLW! I always enjoy this new year’s act of choosing a word to live by. It feels like a fresh way to start a year. I also find it powerful to look back on words I’ve chosen in past years and reflect on how well I did living by that word. A lot can change in a year, so some years I’ve found that the word I chose in January is not so relevant when it comes to November or December of the year. That was not the case last year. I needed my words all year long, and it’s looking like I will need to lean on them this year too. Last year I chose the word hope, but then quickly added action. Hope plus Action. OK, that is TLWs (Two Little Words), but it’s what I needed last January.

I’ve been struggling with my word for 2022. When the pandemic seemed to be waning (just a few weeks ago), I was sure I was going to choose the word belonging. It’s an idea I’ve committed to working on. I want to build spaces of belonging everywhere I go. Everyone should feel that they belong; in a school. in a family, in a community, in the world. But then late November came. My daughter (fully vaccinated) got sick with COVID and couldn’t come home for Thanksgiving. Then we started hearing about Omicron and the Fourth Wave. My son was sick over Christmas (also fully vaccinated and boosted). The return to school is filled with new safety protocols to try to stave off this contagious variant. We are back to masks at recess, desks in rows, plexiglasss at lunch, and virtual meetings. I’m starting to feel like the good coaching work that was gaining momentum before the break is going to come to a screeching halt again. I’m back to not letting people in the house unless they’ve had a negative result on an at home test. I’m feeling a bit lost. A bit frustrated. My list of words is starting to shift. Maybe survival or persistence or patience are the right words for 2022.

I’m going to keep thinking. Maybe I’ll try to wade through this wave before I decide on my OLW for 2022. A lot can change in a year. Let’s hope that things change for the better.