Oh, it would have been so easy to spend this entire break in front of the TV. You people wouldn’t know. I could have totally made up a bunch of stories about taking the kids to museums or the opera and all I’d have to do is add poop or pee and you would have completely bought it.
But I kept worrying if I let the kids watch 14 hours of TV every day it would start a chain reaction that would end up with one of them being lifted out of their shack with a construction crane 25 years from now. “I wash myself with a rag on a stick.”
So when the neighbor girls asked if we would join them for ice-skating at the zoo, I jumped at the chance.
The day was glorious and unseasonably warm at the zoo. So warm that some of the animals graced us with their presence, occasionally pleading with their eyes to toss one of our children into their cages.
We arrived at the skating rink for the Zamboni parade. As I paid for our skates, it dawned on me that there was no chance Luca would join us. His hatred of water is matched only by his hatred of falling down hard.
Luckily, my brother was there and had no intention of skating either. So I planted Luca at his side and laced Elijah up. Eli immediately took his place clutching the railing while his feet flew in all directions.
Just as I was about to enter the ice myself, Steve caught my eye and motioned down to Luca level.
Luca ran up to me and said, “I want to skate.”
Okay fine. I thought as I paid the man that I was better off feeding my $10 to the nearby goats, but whatever.
As I placed Luca’s feet into the skates I remembered Luca’s other hatred besides water and falling hard: stiff shoes.
Luca hates stiff shoes. With a passion. New shoes are met with fierce tantrums and panic attacks and, on one such occasion, a trip home from school.
I was forcing Luca’s feet into the stiffest shoes on the planet. Which also have metal blades on the bottom.
Nope. No go. Before one lace was tied he began gagging and choking in a classic panic. Tears streamed down his face and he shrieked at the top of his lungs in front of those people from Ohio.
And what did his caring, loving father do? I lost my temper. I angrily explained the value of $10 and his punishment for this outburst was to sit with his uncle Steve and watch while I had the greatest time ice-skating in the history of the world.
I left him bawling with my honestly confused brother and I strode to the ice like an Olympic champion.
And then I took my place next to Eli clutching the railing while my feet flew in all directions.