I thought I’d practise. So I went to the rink. I felt like a stranger. There were so many kids, school hols, I wore my boots, felt strange in them, tried to skate, but my left foot felt funny in the skates.
Painstaking. I thought about how I am not a native to ice skating. Anyway, I had an hour or so, so I practised.
A little way in, I saw a little girl with her shoelaces undone, I said to her, ‘Hey little girl, your shoe lace is undone.’
She went to almost the side and bent right over, actually onto the path of the skaters, I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you move further toward the wall, it is too dangerous out here!’
She walked to the wall, bent over. I asked her, ‘Do you need any help? ‘
She said confidently and proudly, ‘I know how to tie my shoelaces myself.’ She proceeded to tie another half knot over the two half knots which had already made a dead knot. She stood up, ready to go.
I said ‘It’s still too long, may I help you? ‘
She said, ‘Ok’ and put her foot forward. Me, I had to go ooh and ahh to bend over low and balance myself without toppling over, finally getting myself into a squat position to help her tie it. While I was doing it, in a very clear voice, she said ‘Thank you !’
Wow, I was thinking, what a lovely polite kid, well taught. I answered, ‘Not at all.’
I went over to tie the other boot as well. I made a grunting noise, to emphasize tying it real tight.
Then I said’ ok now.’ And stood up and she went on her way.
My heart had melted at her pride and independence of being able to tie her shoelaces, even if it is just another half knot on top of the dead knots and at her very clear ‘Thank You’.
I skated a little and I wanted to run away, in case I didn’t do a good enough job of tying her shoe laces properly for her, in case it became undone again and I’d be so ashamed. Can you imagine this little girl having such an effect on me giving me performance issues about tying her shoe laces properly? It’s like, can I match her standards ?
The whole day after that her clear proud little voice kept ringing in my ears ‘I can tie my own shoe laces myself’ as a matter of factly. and ‘Thank You’ while I was in the middle of rendering my services.
My heart so melted. What a beautiful kid. Independent, polite, able to accept help. Gracious little kid.
Kids don’t normally have such effect on me. Usually I would want to smack them, spoilt brats, attention seekers or just hiding behind mother, or totally ignoring others.
My heart is still melted, will be for a while.