It has become a bit of a tradition for us to go ice skating with our friends during the school holidays. I knew the boys would be up for another session, especially after all the skating they got to do in Toronto. The last time I went with them, Nathan was still pretty rigid with his strides and Caleb was constantly lying flat on the ice, or being held up by an adult.
After we strapped on our skates, I expected the boys to be exactly the way they last were but I was wrong.
Nathan immediately took off with his buddies, even before I got my skates on. He was still pretty stiff but once in awhile, he'd loosen up and his strides seemed a little more natural. I reminded him to bend his knees a little and take longer, slower strides. I wasn't entirely sure if he heard me as he skated away with his friends but I decided to just let him enjoy himself.
When I got on the ice with Caleb, I immediately had to hold him up. For the first little bit, his legs were like jelly and going all over the place. I warned him to stand up on his own feet or I'd take him off the ice and immediately, he stood up on his own two feet and started skating. He still lost his balance quite a few times but within the first ten minutes, he decided he no longer needed to hold my hand and decided to take off on his own.
I watched in amazement as he'd take a few strides and start turning as if he was going to fall but he'd catch himself, then keep going. Two hours into the session, Caleb was confident enough to "run" on the ice, turn in a circle and skate, holding hands with the older kids.
As I skated around behind Caleb, I noticed that Nathan would alternate between skating with his friends, playing some variation of tag, and skating by himself. Even when his friends left the ice for a break, he would continue skating. One of the moms commented that it was good he liked skating enough that he would do it even when his friends were not around. When we got to the car, I asked him about the times he skated alone. I personally thought it was because his friends were a little faster than him and he was being left behind, but Nathan told me it was easier for him to think when he didn't have to talk to his friends.
I asked what he was thinking about, and he told me he was trying to think about bending his knees and taking longer strides.
I was so blown away by my boys today. Sometimes I think because I'm home all the time and I spend so much time with the two of them, that I know them so well. But it's times like this that I realize that I don't actually know everything about them and they can still surprise the socks off of me.