Going to a kid's theme park last year was the first time Bret and I realized how strong this commitment is for Palmer. Emily wanted to ride everything. The faster and scarier the better. Emily would have Palmer so pumped up excited until right before the ride started and then the look of horror and fear on his face could no longer hide his terror. While Emily laughed Palmer screamed. While Emily threw her hands in the air Palmer would get a green look on his face and whisper to Emily that he was going to be sick. As Emily ran to get in the next line Palmer could barely find his legs to exit the ride. Emily would ask Palmer if he thought the ride was fun and he would always find a way to smile big and say yes it was awesome. When Bret and I asked if he wanted to ride again he would look at us like we were insane and quietly say no thank you. The good part of all of this is always the confidence that it builds in Palmer. He is always so proud of himself for doing something he was so afraid to even try.
From the moment I mentioned ice skating to the kids they were thrilled and talked of nothing else. The moment Emily's skates were laced she was gone. My friend took Emily and the first time around she held her hand. The second lap Emily used one of the traffic cones that they had to find her balance and by the fourth or fifth lap she was skating all on her own. She still fell a few times but overall she was a natural determined to continue to get better and of course go faster.
Palmer was a different story entirely. I held Palmer's hand the first lap and I thought we would never make it all the way around. Learning to skate for the very time is hard for anyone. It takes a little practice to find your balance. To learn how to use your feet and how to keep from falling is only a matter of time. Palmer hated it. For every tiny step he took all I heard was "I don't want to do this anymore", "I can't it's too hard", "I am going to fall", "I can't do this", "I want to just watch", "I can't do this", "I just want to stop", "I don't want to do this anymore". He wanted to quit so bad that when we finally made it around the rink he let go of my hand and stumbled to the exit without me. I thought for sure it would be an impossible task to get him back on to the ice ever again. Never underestimate the power of Emily.
Round two Palmer was convinced to try the cone (via Emily's advice) but he still wasn't ready to give up my hand either. So with one hand on the cone and holding my hand we made it through lap two with much less complaining and much steadier skates.
A few more laps and Palmer was skating hands free. He was so proud of himself. He loved skating (like really loved it not just because Emily loved it).
If someone asked me what one of the best parts of being a parent is this has to be one of the top five. Watching your kids learning how to do something new. It could be watching them roll over for the first time, walking for the first time, learning how to swim, riding their bike without training wheels, or learning to skate. The look on their face because they are so proud of themselves is priceless.