On a recent Saturday afternoon, we took the kids to my husband's school where he is a PE teacher, so we could roll out the basketballs, kickballs and whatever else we could for hours of family fun. To my surprise, my husband brought out several longboards for the kids to ride around the gym. I was even more surprised to see that my kids were actually quite good at it and, in no time, were skating with the greatest of ease.
As I watched them move effortlessly on those boards, I was both proud and a little envious because even my 7-year-old daughter was mastering a skill that had evaded me for so long.
Since middle school, I have loved watching the sport of skateboarding. I had several friends who could skateboard and longboard, and I enjoyed watching them, all while wishing I could do the same.
I remember walking down the street one day and watching a good friend skate down the road. I watched as he followed the curvature of the bends in the road, looking completely at ease. I remember wondering what it would be like to ride the road so freely with the wind in my hair and wheels beneath my feet, and I have wished I could one day experience what he was able to.
Every once in a while, I would attempt either skateboarding or longboarding, and it always ended in frustration. As a runner, I have found that my body is very used to the constant forward movement of my two feet, so getting on something that forced me to go sideways in order to go forward, and moving one leg while the other stayed still was extremely awkward.
I felt frustrated and prideful about not being able to master the skill even, and that attitude led me to have negative thoughts toward skateboarding and skateboarders themselves — something that I very much regret.
But as I watched my children enjoy and become quick masters of the sport that I had yet to conquer, I quickly found myself wanting to try again. However, here I was a 35-year-old mother of seven and very pregnant with my eighth child. Doubts began to creep in, and I wondered if my time had passed.
With the encouragement of my husband and children, I stepped on the board and started rolling. Yes, it was awkward, and yes I was frustrated at first, but I kept trying. Over the next few minutes, I got more comfortable and my confidence grew.
Before I knew it, I was rolling and making turns on a longboard without losing my balance. And although I was in the confines of a middle school gym, as I made my way around the floor with the wheels of the longboard rolling beneath me and speed gaining with each stroke of my foot, I felt young again. With each second passing as I enjoyed my newfound love, I wondered why I had waited so long.
I may not become a master of this sport, but as I anxiously await my next turn on the board, I also look forward to many other new things this aging body can learn. Because now I know that you're never too old to learn a new trick.