It is so hard to find the balance between being a good mother and being completely obsessed with and consumed by your babies. There are many days when I totally fail to find that balance. Days when my idea of getting ready just means being clean…when I wear hats more days than not…when I can’t remember what I was like before my babies. There are other times when I don’t even realize I am doing something totally out of character for mama-Katina. For example, me rapping along with Coolio to Gangsta’s Paradise while four pairs of eyes gaze wonderingly at my face. (I only have three children, but my husband was in the car and his private school education protected him from such scandalous lyrics. My junior high was much more gangsta. By gangsta I mean a gang of 4-Hers who went to the same church.) Sometimes, old-Katina just pops out from behind mama-Katina. I try to give her the stank eye and tell her to get back before she corrupts my innocent children. She usually complies…usually.
Just yesterday, we went to a birthday party at Skatetown, our town’s roller skating rink. Let me take a moment to explain my love for Skatetown. The people who owned Skatetown attended the small, country church that I grew up in. Because of this, well… and the fact that I was born in 1982, I learned to skate at an early age. I was never a wonderful skater, nothing like the couple’s skate dancers or the rollerblade hockey players, but I loved going to Skatetown. It was a safe zone… meaning, when I dated the boys in my chruch youth group, (that’s right…boys…plural….I was kind of a youth group floozy) my mama allowed them to take me to Skatetown. So, my friend and I would usually get all fancied up in our best Girbaud jeans and Guess shirts and ride in one of the youth group boys’ low riders to Skatetown. There, we would hold hands, drink cokes, eat sour straws, and skate. Anytime I hear a song like, Boyz II Men’s End of the Road I can almost smell the old shoe smell and feel the sweaty palm of the boy holding one hand while my other hand glides along the carpeted walls.
I don’t really think the teens today ‘kick it’ at Skatetown, so now it is a great birthday party location for little ones. My own kids had never skated, and I was super excited to teach them. We walked in and my mind was flooded with sweet memories of old friends! Ahhhh Skatetown…. I was pulled out of 1996 by sissy’s hand yanking on mine & begging for skates. All five of us made our way to the counter. The lady asked how many; I looked around to see if any other adults had gotten skates. Nope. I sadly told the lady we only needed skates for two, Sissy and Bubba.
Teaching the kids to do anything is so frustrating. They looked like two Bambies gripping onto daddy for dear life. I handed the baby to my husband and took the kids hands. I told them to quit whining and stand up. Bubba was wearing the little toddler skates that fit over his shoes, so he could go on his own. Sissy had on the big girl skates, and she was struggling! I glanced around the building and noticed a few other parents getting skates. I thought I might be able to help her if I could just put on a pair of skates. Ya know, to show her what to do! Not because I wanted to skate! Not at all! I told sissy to sit still for a minute and I bebopped my way to the counter, gum smacking… tiny ponytail bouncing. I asked for a pair of skates, sat down, pulled on the skates, and stood up. I pushed myself off the carpet and onto the floor.
Elsa came on the speakers belting Let It Go. It wasn’t Boyz II Men, but it still spoke to my soul. I sped around the curve toward Sissy. Then….. something came over me… instead of stopping to help her like I promised, I just flew right past her. I skated around the circle and kept going. I glided across the floor, feet crossing, arms pumping. My husband stared, my daughter cried, baby boy laughed, and my mama took a picture. (I think it’s important that I pause here to apologize to my sister in law… I don’t know why I skated past you and slapped your booty. Skatetown just came over me… I should also apologize to my cousin. I pushed you, and I really didn’t mean to. It was 14 year old Katina.) For those few minutes I was just Katina, I remembered there was a me before all of my babies. A me who knew the words to filth such as Gangsta’s Paradise, liked Boyz II Men, and really loved Skatetown.