“We are leaving for the roller skating rink in 20 minutes,” Kelly announced. “Get your socks and shoes on.” The kids began scrambling around the RV to get ready.
“And you, Sis,” she smiled at me, “sit right here.” She patted the bench seat and her eyes widened.
“Close your eyes,” she said.
I leaned against the seat and did as told.
“Happy birthday,” Kevin said as he placed a tissue paper wrapped gift onto my lap.
I looked at them and smiled as I pulled the paper off and discovered a white t-shirt with writing. Holding it up, I laughed. He used Sharpie markers to decorate my t-shirt with “It’s my birthday” scrawled across the front. A hand-drawn pair of roller skates sketched in hot pink and purple covered the center of the shirt.
The kids came over and leaned in to me, “Happy birthday, Aunt Sara. You have to wear this tonight.”
“Of course I will.”
“As the oldest ‘kid’ here, I do as told,” and winked at them while slipping it on over my tank top.
The line snaked forward as we waited to enter the rink. Several friends arrived with their kids. The children bopped around and swerved in and out of the adults.
Once inside, we laced up skates and hit the hardwood floors. Music pulsed out from speakers overhead.
I darted around a few kids who leaned onto a training device as they attempted to skate. I slid in between my niece and her friend. We joined hands and our skates knocked into each other. We stretched our arms out to avoid tripping.
“Clear the floor,” the DJ announced. “We are about to start the races.”
The kids cheered and scrambled to the edge of the rink. We sat on the benches. I began some leg stretches and my niece smiled and shook her head.
“Five- through eight-year-olds line up.” The young ones crowded onto the floor line as a staff member set up orange cones to mark the start and finish line.
A whistle blew and the kids pushed off, some stumbling and some gliding easily.
The audience cheered as the skaters rolled toward the cones.
This repeated for all the older children and teens.
“Now, if you’re 18 or older come on out!”
I jumped up and got in line with a handful of others. I looked to my friends and family on the sidelines and offered my hands up, beckoning them to join me. They stayed put and cheered instead.
I crouched down into race position as if I did this sort of thing all the time. Again, the whistle signaled the start and I lurched forward. Regaining from the little wobble, I looked up and watched two guys on roller blades zip ahead.
Pushing out with my old-fashioned four-wheeled skates, I tried to build speed. The guys sped ahead and were halfway around the rink. I pushed harder and crouched down a little as they crossed the finish line.
Finally passing between the cones, I stuck my hand out while rolling toward the kids on the bench. They formed a line and extended their hands. I high-fived them as they cheered, “Yay, Aunt Sara.”
The DJ announced, “Back to regular skating. All skaters may return to the floor.”
A couple of kids grabbed my hands and we pushed off together. The lights dimmed, black lights were switched on and I was glowing in my white birthday shirt.