The smell of hot chocolate, popcorn and white ice greeted us at the door. A birthday invitation for my daughter landed us at the ice skating rink. In my life, I’ve ice skated, maybe once or twice, the fear of a broken leg just too intimidating for me.
For my daughter, until this past weekend, ice skating was something she only contemplated on television. She put on those metal blades for the first time, jamming her toes into the boot, while trying to balance her body like she was walking on a tightrope.
Throughout her attempts at the ice, I reflected on the different transitions she experienced. From walking to falling to skating to learning to pull herself from sitting to standing again, there was a seamless thread of transitions. I watched as she oscillated from each position with a centered focus and little hesitation. The moving from one to another wasn’t rough, but easy, almost as if there wasn’t a change that was happening. She wasn’t distracted by other ice skaters that circled the center or the boys who decided that waving small hockey sticks in the air were more entertaining than the actual skating.
As I watched through the transparent glass, I smiled, admiring her ease at handling change in such quick succession. The other part of me, felt a twinge of sadness, knowing that she will probably lose this ability to embrace transition as she grows older. I am not certain when it happens, when we lose the capacity to just move without worry from one transition to the next. Even in the moments that we know our thoughts or our worry won’t change an outcome, we cling to old patterns, running various hypotheticals in our mind.
As I helped my daughter take off her skates, I preserved her skating experience in my own mental time machine, tucking away a memory where transitions didn’t really matter to her. It’s a lesson for me as well, to learn that the in-between moments between traveling and destination don’t have to be so fraught with unease.
How do you handle transitions? Are your transitions fraught with worry or is your approach more calm? What advice would you give to anyone experiencing a transition?