I bought my daughter her first pair of roller skates today. She is absolutely entranced with roller skating. I sit on the round carpet covered bench with too-loud music playing as I watch her make her way around the rink. She sticks to the center tonight. Saturday nights are kind of wild at the roller rink. Very sexy, very young girls careen wildly in pairs and groups of four, many of them in matching outfits. I can’t tell how old they are, they could be anywhere from 11 to 15. All I can tell is that they are very young, very sexy, and very graceful. I’m sure that my daughter will be one of them before I can blink.
Last time we went was on a Thursday night. They’re a much mellower crowd. In fact, that night was so mellow that the rink was closing early. They let my daughter in for the last 20 minutes without a charge. She determinedly made her way around the rink again and again. She’s very present in her body and picks up physical skills easily, but is still awkward and uncertain on skates. There was a couple figure skating – laughing, twirling, dipping, playing. Watching them, skating looked like the most exhilarating activity in the world. We talked to them after the lights came up and the music stopped. As skates were removed and street shoes gathered we found out that they had both skated professionally at one point in their lives and had met at the roller rink. I asked them what bit of advice they would give to an enthusiastic young girl just starting out.
“Pay attention to gravity, and learn how to use it, go with it, rather than resisting it.” It struck me that what the young man was so casually describing was grace. Grace means going with nature and the world as it is – and using what is to create beauty. If you try to fight against nature, the result is always awkward and uncertain. We are so much more effective at creating a beautiful world when we first accept and love the world as it already is. This is my practice currently. Whenever I encounter something I don’t like it the world…something hard, something ugly, something uncomfortable I try to give it some space. Space where I’m not resisting and just allowing and loving.
Last week I was at my daughter’s school for the second grade science fair. She had done her project all on her own (in about an hour) and looking at all the fancy parent directed experiments, I admit that I felt like kind of a loser. I don’t connect with many of the other parents and in fact have a secret fear that they all judge me as a bad parent. Because my daughter insists on wearing stained pajama bottoms and flip-flops even when it’s cold, because I don’t volunteer at school functions, because I won’t let her eat pizza or drink soda. All the awkwardness and loneliness of my own school experiences came rushing back. Unexpectedly, as the promised one hour event starts to turn towards two, I start to cry. It’s pretty subtle at first, but pretty soon I have to go hide out in the bathroom. I’m trying so hard to calm down so that I don’t ruin my daughter’s good time that I forget to try to fall in love with the world as it is.
I hurry her out of there as fast as I can, amazed that she doesn’t notice my red puffy eyes and the way I keep wiping at them. The funny thing is that she had a blast. She isn’t embarrassed at all. She thinks her project is great. That it might even place in the top 5.