You’d think I would have learned last year about Santa, and Christmas miracles, and backyard rinks. But three days ago I wrote:
…skating on Christmas is all but out of the question…
And yet there I was around noon today, Christmas Day, walking around the perimeter of the rink. The shallow end, which has about 3″ of ice, was frozen to the ground. As you made your way to the deeper end, you could see through the crystal-clear ice to see the water and bubbles below. The deepest corner of the rink had the same 3″ of ice with about 12″ of water beneath. As I walked back to the shallow end I drew a mental line in my head of where the ice was frozen to the ground and tested it out in my boots. After walking across the width of the rink in my boots I felt a rush of adrenaline.
I ran back inside with that youthful urgency of a kid on the last day of school.
“It’s ready!” I shrieked as I walked in. I tore off my jacket and boots and ran to the basement to get my son’s hockey bag. We had pieced together a full set of hockey equipment through ebay and skate sales, and I ripped through his bag tossing out equipment like…well…like a three-year-old tosses aside Christmas gifts of socks and underwear. Before long we had our little 35-pounder geared up and weighing about 50 pounds, his eager eyes and vocal enthusiasm matching my internal delight. We marched out to the rink, flanked by his mom, my dad, and my sister and her fiancee. For the next 45 minutes, we laughed and fell down and rolled around and joked and talked and urged and drank it all in. Once or twice, he even stood up like a big boy, only to fall down again, in part because of inexperienced ankles, and in part because giggling tends to make one lose their balance. It was one of those days where you try to supplement the digital pictures you’re taking with a mental picture of the rink, your son, your family, and the fact that for those 45 minutes, there is not a single thing wrong in the world.
That, my friends, is what Christmas (and backyard rinks) are all about. Merry Christmas everyone.