I remember watching Sk8terdude learn to do an axle stall (here's a how-to video for us non-skating parents: how to do an axle stall). He was practicing on a half-pipe, trying to nail the 90 degree turn at the top so his board would balance on the coping before taking another 90 degree turn to skate back down the pipe. The first time he got it right it took him by surprise, and before he could really register that he was successfully perched at the top, he was already zipping down and up to the other side. After that first success, there were quite a few misses before he could routinely get an axle stall correct, and then it took longer still before his "muscle memory" kicked in and he was able to do an axle stall each time he tried, almost without thinking.
In that brief pause, when the board stops, just for a split second, before he turns and drops back down the ramp, I am reminded how much of a balancing act skateboarding really is. And it's as much a balancing act for me as a parent as it is for him as a skater.
With indoor skating such an ordeal this winter, how do I balance his need to skate with the needs of the rest of our family? Both boys have basketball on Saturdays, which only leaves one day each week when he could reasonably expect to skate. Do I devote EVERY Sunday to a skatepark trip? Of course, Sk8terdude would say yes...but this past weekend we had to say no to skating.
Saturday night Sk8terdude was invited to watch the Harlem Globetrotters as a celebration for a friend's birthday, which meant it was already a late night out. We had tickets for Sunday night's Danbury Whalers game against the New York Aviators at 5 p.m. Somehow I couldn't see adding a trip to Drop In Skatepark on top of everything else we (he) had going on. He wasn't happy, but he survived.
At his age, Sk8terdude sometimes still has trouble understanding why we can't just do all the things he wants to do. For me, it's a non-stop challenge: trying to find a way to meet everyone's needs, including my own. (This weekend that meant that OlderBrother had a group of friends over for an evening of xbox while Sk8terdude was at the Globetrotters.) The boys usually want to go in different directions, and Sk8terdad and I don't always want to go along for the ride. Some weekends are easier than others.
But every once in awhile, the stars align, everyone is happy, and, for a moment at least, I get that split second where everything stops, and I'm balanced perfectly on top of the coping, and I can look around and take a breath, before I plummet back down the half-pipe to the other side.