It was 4:00 pm, and the ice rink was closing.
Kids, parents, teens, everybody headed off the ice. The music stopped.
“Lily, it’s time to go,” I said gently.
“No. I’m having too much fun!” she shouted gleefully as she slipped by. “Woo hoo!”
I clumsily made my way over to her. I’m not the world’s best ice-skater.
“Come on, hon, it’s time to go. Do you want to skate next to me, or would you like me to hold your hand?” I reached for her hand.
“No! I want to keep skating!”she pouted, and pulled her hand away.
I glanced through the plexiglass at Brinton, who was holding Jackson, who was crying at the top of his lungs. It was way past nap time, plus he had eaten every snack we brought for him an hour ago.
“It’s time to go, sweet pea. They’re closing. Look around–everybody’s going home now.” I tried to say this as cheerfully as I could, still hoping on hope to avoid a total meltdown.
Too late. Lily slipped and fell, and when she realized she couldn’t get up on her own, she flew into a rage.”Aaargh! Nooo!” She kicked her legs. At that moment I realized how sharp the ice skate blades really were.
I made a move to try and pick her up and realized that I wasn’t nearly a good enough ice skater to pull that off. I looked at Brinton and gestured. Help? He looked back at me, pointed at Jackson, who was wailing, and mouthed, You can do it.
Desperately, I tried to get Lily to come with me. “It’s time to go. We’re going.” The last few people on the ice gave me a look as they passed us. I could almost hear their thoughts.
I managed to get a hold of one of Lily’s hands. “Let’s stand up. I’ll help you.” She pulled against me.
Not knowing what else to do, I gave Lily’s hand a gentle tug. “Come on hon, let’s go.” She pulled back again, only this time I held on, and she slid easily toward me across the ice. I hung on to her mittened hand, and took a step toward the exit, then another, and another. Slowly, slowly, I dragged Lily off the ice.