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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Some very sweet moments on the ice today.
Some very sweet moments on the ice today.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off

I have my share of flaws as a mom, but one of my strongest parenting principals is that I always follow through when I say I am going to do something. My father was this way, and the older I get, the more I realize how rare and important this quality is and have committed to it myself.

So when I told my kids I would take them ice skating during their winter break and realized, last night, that I only had one day left to achieve my promise, I almost regretted my words. I had to work today and had alternative caretakers for them, but I knew I had to figure out a way to make it happen.

So I took an hour and 15 minutes out of my work day and took them to Red Arrow Park. Being a sunny winter day – and the last day of winter break for many area schools – the rink was packed with skaters.

The '80s music was blaring and kids were shuffling in clunky skates, blading around with astonishing grace and completely wiping out. Hence, the skating usually ranged from relaxing and fun to borderline dangerous and nerve-wracking.

But I loved every minute of it.

On the rink, I heard a half dozen parents say the most encouraging words to their kids and telling them how much they were improving.

I went into full-on "Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey" mode and offered a few life lessons in the form of skating metaphors. (This is one of my favorite parts of parenting younger kids: I can get as sappy and corny and sentimental as I want and they completely absorb it without snark or embarrassment.)

"I've had to pick myself up and dust myself off lots of times," I told my son while we held hands and hobble-skated in a circle to "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order.

I am so glad I followed through on my winter break skating promise. Sometimes you have to sneak away for an hour to make the memories.

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