We bought Ellie a skateboard for her birthday. It was a good idea at the time given that her wish list consisted of a skateboard, roller skates, bike with pedals (both girls currently have balance bikes) and a scooter. I saw the little Tinkerbell board at the toy sale and was thrilled, but as the day approached I started to wonder exactly what I had been thinking.
Skateboards are dangerous. I went on one once and practically broke my arm. Never mind that I am the least coordinated person in the history of the world or that I waited until I was 19 to try. I didn’t even make it from the front of our house to the letterbox. And I never got on one again.
I tried to forget that this is what we had bought her, but found that little niggle kept coming back.
I started feeling guilty, thinking “Great, I’m going to be that parent who buys stuff you’re never actually allowed to use.”
And then, the day arrive and my baby girl was thrilled with her present. “Can I go outside and ride my skateboard?” She asked barely 5 minutes after ripping the paper off it. I went out with her, to hover, under the guise of taking some photos only to discover that my attitude changed.
I watched her as she built her confidence. Starting out slow and becoming much faster as the afternoon progressed. Learning where to put her feet and how to maneuver herself and the board. I saw the determination as she worked and the thrill as she was able to build up speed.
And I was okay.
Had she jumped on, gung-ho, and tried to speed along straight off things might (would) be different but I see her learning and exploring in a way that works for her and eases my nerves.
I told her to expect to fall. But that I will be there. And that she will be able to get back up and try again. She added “All I need is some pratrise.”
I know my girl is sensible. More than that, though, is the fact that I know I can’t wrap her in cotton wool and protect her from everything ever. Next year she will be going to school and I won’t be able to hold her hand every moment of every day. I can’t teach her to get back up when she falls down if I never let her fall down.
I don’t want to stop her doing things she enjoys or trying new things because I am scared. Or because I once halfheartedly tried and failed at it myself.
This little skateboard reminded me that we have a lifetime of things ahead of us; so many of which will be out of my control, but from now until forever she will know that I will always be there to help her back up again. No matter what.
I can already see her being some extreme skater. Going pro and all. Thankfully, she didn’t get her coordination from her mother.
Have you ever had second thoughts about a gift purchase?