At the wonderful family camp we attend every year, Barnabas, we have played the same introduction game a few times. You probably know it -- everyone in the room has several toothpicks, and, as we go around the room, everyone says his or her name and something they've never done. Every person who has done the deed that the speaker has not puts one toothpick in a bowl. The goal is to be the person holding the most toothpicks at the end of the introduction circuit. This means you have the dubious distinction of being the most boring, unaccomplished person in the room. Still, it is fun to try to think of things that you've never done that, most likely, a majority of the others in the room have.
Since our camp is in Canada, I got a big groan and universal toothpick discharging when I introduced myself with the revelation that I have never attended a hockey game. Should we play this game again this year, I will further annoy the other campers with the equally startling disclosure that I have never gone ice skating. Never. C'mon, I was a kid growing up in Southern California. You had to really, really make an effort to get anywhere near that amount of ice -- even in rink form. Roller skating? Yes! Swimming? Yes! Yes! Horseback riding? Only like all the time! But never, never sliding about the ice in ankle-bending skates.
So, how weird is it that Sadie's dreams right now are filled with half-lutzes and salchows? There is an ice rink on the road to Issaquah that we travel occasionally; and, whenever we pass it, Sadie never fails to look wistfully out the window and say, "I sure wish I could go ice skating." Aw.
Well, I certainly could not take her. My own lack of physical coordination bodes ill for my harboring a secret skating talent, and, should Sadie venture out with me, our tushes will see more contact with the ice than our skates' blades. So, I decided that figure skating lessons were in order for my aspiring ice princess. I purchased an introductory course on the sly, found a great beginner's skate set on-line, and wrapped the entire package in snowflake paper to nestle under our tree. I think Sadie will be delighted.
You know how, when you have a great gift awaiting Christmas morn, you sort of like to tease out a little of the intended recipient's desires by egging them on? So, the other day, as we passed Castle Ice yet again, I said to Sadie, "So, do you still want to try ice skating?"
"Oh yes!" With starry eyes.
"Are you interested in skating for the love of the sport and the desire to do well, or are you mainly interested in it for the cool costumes?" I teased.
"Um . . ."
Uh-oh. Had I stumbled on something I did not want to hear? "You do want to learn to skate, don't you? You're not just in it for the clothes?"
"Oh, yes. I do want to learn how to skate, Mom." Then, she turned and whispered into the ear of her grandmother, who was sitting next to her, "I'm really just in it for the clothes."
"I heard that!" I gave Sadie the stink-eye via the rearview mirror.
Sadie laughed and laughed, all the way to Issaquah. Ice princesses. Who can live with them?