Sunday, September 6, 2009

Last Trip to Incrediroll (Babble)

My girls were both sad about school letting out back in June, so to help make the summer laid out before us more enticing, I told the kids they could each pick a day of the week, and on that day each of them would get to choose what we did as a family.

Quinn got Sunday, and dutifully asked every morning what day it was.  He was thrilled when the answer was Sunday and would say proudly “It’s MY day!” but I don’t think he ever picked something to do.

Aden, who has raised indecisiveness to an art form worthy of its own awards show, never did select a day.  If you ask her, you will get a long explanation about how it was Saturday, but the first one fell on the Fourth of July, so then it had to be Thursday, but mom works on Thursdays, so it’s Tuesdays or Fridays when it’s not Saturdays.  She never really picked out things to do either.

But Mona, as usual, was a whole other story.  Mona’s day was Wednesday.  Wednesday is family night at Incrediroll.  Every Wednesday this summer that we were in town, we went to Incrediroll.

I’m still sort of amazed by the mere existence of Incrediroll.  It’s a roller rink where you can rent skates and play video games and skee ball and buy junk food and it’s straight out of my own childhood.  I honestly didn’t know people still used regular roller skates anymore, rather than the inline variety that I never felt comfortable in.  I had my thirteenth birthday party at a roller rink and spent most of my summer evenings between sixth and ninth grades skating in front of my house with my friend Jen from around the corner.  Maybe it’s just because I don’t run in circles anymore where roller skating comes up, but I thought skating as I experienced it had faded away.  Not true!  People are still happy to go around the same oval space again and again under a mirror ball while music plays.  It was even more reminiscent of my own childhood after Michael Jackson died this summer and they revived all his old hits at the rink.

I don’t know where Mona even got the idea to start roller skating, but she latched on and never let go.  Even when it became clear that she was not improving week after week as she wobbled around the rink, and that the skating itself was not a lot of fun for her, Incrediroll was set in stone as our Wednesday night routine.  She got to pick, and she always picked Incrediroll.  During our third or fourth visit I remember sitting with her and Quinn at a table, eating our cheap and awful pizza, and Mona gazed around appreciatively at all the blinking lights and gaudy colors and said dreamily, “Incrediroll is my favorite place in the whole world.”  For a split second it was mine, too.  There are few things better than to feel truly connected to your family, and everyone agreeing to head out to Incrediroll together every Wednesday was nicer than I ever could have predicted.

Quinn gave up skates the second week.  He never made it into the actual rink, but at first he liked the idea of having wheels on his feet like his sisters until he decided it wasn’t making skee ball any easier.  He’s still at that marvelous and inexpensive age where you don’t have to put quarters in the video games for him to think they’re entertaining.  He sat his tiny self in the seat of a driving game every Wednesday, turning the steering wheel like he was controlling something, happily sipping water and telling us, “Soda tastes terrible.”  On our last visit of summer he hung out with me by a window at the end of the rink and waved to Aden, Mona and Ian as they rolled by.

For Aden this turned out to be the summer of mastering wheels.  She got really comfortable on her scooter, she learned to ride a bike without training wheels, and by the last trip to Incrediroll she was starting to get the hang of those skates.  She’s worried she’ll forget by next summer, but I reminded her about the bike.  She was nervous about getting back on her bike after being on vacation for a couple of weeks, telling me she was sure she’d forgotten what to do.  I explained to her that there was an actual expression that goes, “It’s like riding a bike,” meaning once you get it, you get it forever.  She smiled at that, then hopped on her two wheeler with no problem.  I told her as we left the skating rink that if I could still manage to remember enough to roll alongside her after more than twenty years out of skates, she would be fine next summer.  She smiled at that, too.

We’ll see if I can actually manage it next summer.  It’s one of those activities that seems too hard without Ian.  Aden’s old enough to go around the rink alone, but Mona needs help and I can’t leave Quinn.  Many things are getting easier as the kids get older (and I’m so happy to be done with diapers I can hardly describe the joy) but some stuff remains stubbornly out of reach.  There are moments you just need an extra adult around, and managing three small kids at Incrediroll is one of them.

But I’ll roll across that bridge when I come to it.  In the meantime, the leaves are changing here, school is starting, and we have a whole new set of adventures ahead.  Of course, now that we’ve had a taste of it, we may need a mirror ball in the kitchen.

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