Who wants to go ice skating? I prepped my kids all week for this weekend’s adventures in Tucson, ice skating being the foreseeable highlight of the trip. Eat your dinner if you want to go ice skating, I encouraged. Clean up your toys, do your homework… worked like a charm. I can be pretty dumb sometimes.
We set out for Tucson with a car full of wired kids, winter clothes (for sledding) and a big bag of my super-bran muffins. The trip down was smooth (I’m always surprised how short it is) and we wound through the Tucson Mountain Park keeping an eye out for a sign or a turn-off until we crested a hill and BAM! There it was, spanning the horizon. The magnificent JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort nestles into the mountain ridge like it belongs there. Our excitement ratcheted up about three degrees when we caught sight of it.
We parked ($20 w/ valet, $10 w/o- and parking is in Timbuktu) checked in, changed clothes and went straight for the synthetic ice. The kids and I stood rail side watching the skaters circle, spin and laugh and my kids’ faces almost split with grins in anticipation of their impending ice skating joy. Allen ran around to the skate rental booth to find that this group had just entered the ice and would be on the “ice” for another 25 minutes before we’d have a chance.
The kids ran up and down the sidewalk swirling and twirling, arms stretched out like the skaters’ until the line began to form at the booth. We stood still until the first group was called off the ice and the line started moving. On my turn, I asked the girl who helped me if my two-and-a-half-year-old could skate. “The skates only go down to a child size 10,” she replied. His size. Perfect. So I paid $7 each for my six-year-old and I – the younger two were free- and filled out liability forms in case of a tragic accident. A few families had breezed passed us in line having signed up earlier (why couldn’t I do that, now?) and had their skates before we reached the skate line where we stood for another 10 minutes. Tedious, but it would be so worth it. Three little heads bobbed around me. The boys watched the demonstration skaters glide across the ice during skating intermission telling me all the things they would do once they were out there before finally we got to the counter.
Tragedy at Starr Pass
“They don’t have their sizes,” my husband whispered. “What?” I just asked the girl in front and she said they go down to a children’s size 10.”
“I’m telling you, I just heard them say they don’t have anything smaller than a size two to those people.” My heart plummeted.
“You don’t have any skates these kids’ sizes?” I asked the girls, patting my boys’ heads.
With their best “sorry faces” they confirmed my worst fear. I looked down to see that William’s glowing smile had already cracked into the most hideous contortion of grief he could possibly be capable of. Tears were brimming over his eyelids and spilling down his face and his nose was glowing red. “But I want to go ice skating,” he sobbed.
With a nod at the girls and choking back my own hysteria, we pulled the boys aside behind some bushes and let them get the initial shock of disappointment out of their systems. We explained that it was okay. There were other things to look forward to and that Santa was coming in a helicopter very soon so they better not cry and pout. Plus we would have hot chocolate in our room later and go sledding the next day.
We walked around to find a place to wait for Santa but the patio was packed. Elves and hotel employees periodically stopped the boys to ask if they were excited to see Santa and were met with the blank stares of three shell-shocked, deeply disappointed youngsters. So, we pulled up a bit of sidewalk and tuned in to listen to the Tucson Boys Chorus.
Here is William recovering.
Eventually, a light appeared in the sky accompanied by the chop-chop-chop of helicopter blades. “He’s coming!” We were alerted by a voice over the loudspeaker.
To be continuted…
P.S. It gets better!