We went to Indianapolis this weekend to celebrate my nephew’s 8th birthday.
We prepared the boys for the ice skating party that they were going to attend.
My worrier started asking about the depth of the water. Was it deep enough to drown in? What would happen if the ice broke? Was I really sure it was ok for him to be out on the ice?
We arrived at the skating arena and moved toward the party room where the party was already well under way.
The party consisted of my nephew, whom my boys truly adore. He had 9 friends around him. His mom and her fiancé were standing nearby. Various parents rounded out the room.
Keegan and my honey went right into the room along with my brother-in-law. Eli dug in his heels pretty deeply right outside the door. He made his body tiny enough to fit in the small crevice of space between the door frame and the adjoining wall. There was no way he was going in.
I took a slow, deep breath and calmly asked him where he was at on his feelings thermometer. RED was his answer. Too many people I asked? Too many people he didn’t know.
Mommy go in with me. Let me hide behind you. So we entered together. He held tightly to the back of my coat and hid closely behind me as we moved to the back of the room to sit at an empty table. He sat in a chair with me right next to him. He whispered his wants and needs into my ear.
After only a few minutes his need to be near his cousin took over his anxieties. He hid behind my honey and made her move to my nephew so that he could tap him on the shoulder to say hello. His smile warmed my heart. He moved quickly back to his seat but it was evident that he didn’t want to stay there for long.
Slowly he came out of his shell and moved around with a little more ease. He stayed close to one of us but didn’t need to hide anymore.
It came time to skate and he got a little tense again. I reminded him that the ice was only a couple of inches thick. It was certainly safe. We would be on the ice with him at all times. We put on his skates and off he went with my honey.
He help pretty tight to her for a while. Fortunately the kids all got a skating lesson as a part of the party. He learned how to better stay on his feet by keeping his hands in front of him.
He learned how to bend down and stand back up again.
Soon, there was absolutely no stopping him!
Before we knew it he was turning circles and demanding to skate on his own.
He fell many times but kept getting back up. He bruised his knee and scraped his face. He vowed to be done but my honey knew that if he left on a sour note he’d never go back. So, she pushed him to go one time around the rink.
He ended up staying until open skate was over and everyone had to get off the ice. The reward? Watching the Zamboni make new ice!!!
We’ve been working so hard to not protect him from his anxieties but to support him through them. We want him to learn that his worries don’t always lead to disaster. With the help of his psychologist he is now sometimes able to talk through some of these worries so that they are out there to be dealt with.
This weekend all the pieces fell into place for him. He survived the birthday party and ended up having a lot of fun. This was HUGE for him! I was proud to be a part of this moment with him and I told him so.
We’re still working on the ice skating worries. He doesn’t want to EVER skate outside. We talked about it on the way home from swimming today. I assured him I would never let him skate on ice that wasn’t deemed safe. He negotiated that there could be a sudden warm up and the ice could crack. I tried to reason with him that an event like that couldn’t happen. It could, mom, and then I’d go into cold water and freeze, then drown and die. This kid knows too much about everything!
We compromised that his next skating experience could again be on indoor ice. Then we would work our way outside. It’s been cold enough around here lately that it shouldn’t be a problem.
I’m just tearfully happy that we made it through this major event in his little life. It’s all about the stepping-stones. This one was close to mountain size.