Friday, May 13, 2011

Ice Skating, Collecting Cow Pies and Other Distant Memories of Youth

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I have a confession to make. My sons are ages six and nine and they don't know how to ice skate. And I don't mean they're kind of wobbly on the ice, I mean that my children have never, ever laced a skate on their cute little feet. Never felt the sensation of gliding over frozen ice. Never. As a woman who was born and raised in Wisconsin, where we practically learned how to skate right out of the womb, this is truly an embarrassment. But el esposo can't skate either.

In fact, until our first wedding anniversary when we went to Montreal, el esposo had never laced a skate either. But that's to be expected because he grew up in the south of Spain. Not too many ice rinks down there. But my kids, born in New York City and now living in Philadelphia? We got ice. We got rinks. How could I have let so much time go by without ensuring that this fundamental part of my own childhood isn't part of theirs? This is where the collecting cow pies part comes in. Stay with me here, I'm about to go on a HUGE tangent.

So, we're building a small raised garden in our minuscule backyard. El esposo and I argued about how to treat the soil in our garden. I said that we needed compost. He said we didn't. I called my brother for back-up and he informed me that not only did we need compost, but that we should also mix in some manure for optimal vegetable growth. I balked at that and my brother informed me that el esposo and his sister used to be tasked with collecting cow poop in plastic bags to take to their grandmother for her garden on a regular basis. When I confronted el esposo to see if this was true he said, "No. It wasn't cow poop, it was horse poop!"

After peeling myself off the kitchen floor from laughter, I asked el esposo why he never told me that story before? And he just shrugged his shoulders and said he forgot about it. But he had to chuckle too at the memory (by the way, we're not adding manure to the dirt, just compost). Later I asked him if he wanted to take our kids to a nearby horse farm and have them collect manure just to see what he went through. While we had a lot of fun contemplating the idea, we decided against it, but that's when I realized how easy it is to forget about our childhood traditions and pastimes. How quickly we forget what made us smile and grimace, laugh and cry. I don't want to forget all those things. Especially the good things. And I do want my kids to have at least the opportunity to experience some of those simple pleasures.

So, tonight, my kids start ice skating lessons. I don't expect that they'll fall in love with skating, nor do I expect either one will want to start playing ice hockey tomorrow (although if one of them wants to be the next Apollo Ohno, I'm okay with that dream), but at least they get to experience something that was a magical part of my childhood. And that's enough. Better late than never, right?

Is there a part of your childhood that you've forgotten to pass on to your kids? Or maybe there's a tradition you've made sure to keep alive? I'd like to hear about it.

I'm listening.


p.s. sorry I missed Wednesday's post.


claudia said...

Why in May did you decide to have the kids skate? We use worm poop in the garden and it is definitely the best.

LT said...

Being from Wisconsin, it's always a good time to skate :) Worm poop...I'll remember that. Thanks!