From skating to hot drinks


Years had passed since I had set foot on an icy pond. Motherhood had taken over, and priorities had shifted.

That evening ten years ago, we had taken baby Julia along to the neighbors, where she watched from inside the window while Daniel and I enjoyed some youthful skating moments.

Here in Southern Illinois, we usually have one cold snap, giving people the enjoyment of skating for at least a few days.

Now, in mid-January, after numerous days of bone-chilling weather, ponds were frozen. The children were enthralled with the idea of going skating. In recent years, however, we often ended up not being home over the cold snap, or else it didn’t last long enough to give us safe skating.

Though none of the children had skated before, they were convinced they could. (Daniel had taken them to our pond several years ago, where they played on the ice without skates.)

The opportunity had finally arrived, and I wanted them to take it. “I’d like to take all of you,” I told them.

“Mom, can you skate?” They asked in surprise.

They didn’t remember that I, too, was a young girl not that long ago; I smiled to myself.

(I chuckle as I think of my mom’s cousin who once told her teenage children, “I used to be smart.” Funny. Children don’t remember those days before added responsibility and duty set in.)

I told the children I’d take them all out on the ice on Friday evening. By then, Julia and Austin had skated with their friends and were sold on the idea.

Now, walking across the woods and over the hill, we made our way to the pond, which the neighbor boys had cleared from snow. I got to work fastening skates. I told the children we used to have the more old-fashioned skates where you spent a long time lacing tightly.

I slipped into my friend’s skates and clicked them shut. Straightening my back, I got up and headed for the other end of the pond. Why it felt just like it did when I was a girl: the rhythmic ‘click, click’ of the blades hitting the ice, then the gliding hum.

After a little round, I told the children I’d take turns going with them. They were used to roller blades at home, which helped them stay on their feet- that is all but little Joshua. He was convinced he could also skate, so we put a pair on his feet and helped him push a chair around on the ice.

Six-year-old Jesse slid all over the pond. In his grown-up manner he told his younger brother, “Just think about skating and not about falling, then you can skate a lot easier!”

When it was Jesse’s turn to make a round with me, he said, “Aw, Mom, you don’t have to; I can go by myself!”

“I know you can, but I want to be with you.”

We headed for the far end of the pond side by side, our skates singing a rhythmic tune. Could this be the same child I spent countless hours with at night, doing my best to soothe him as the rest of the household slept? Trauma, no longer as rash and raw, creates beauty deeper than ink and paper. He could not have been more precious had he been born to us.

As we skated, we talked of heaven; imagine, in heaven, we’ll glide around minus skates! What will it be like to fly with the angels and Daddy? And in heaven all of us will be young, and none will be crippled. It will end the pain and be the beginning of all the excellence and perfection.

Skating with Daddy’s children, as I call them, was even better than those carefree days when myself was all I had to take care of.

The children love coming home from skating to hot drinks. Here is a recipe I’d like to share. I enjoy adding a dash of Taster’s Choice instant coffee to mine.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

1 ¾ cup nonfat dry milk

1 tea. Powdered stevia *

¼ c. xylitol*

¾ cup baking cocoa

1 ½ teas cinnamon

Mix all together and store in an air tight container. When ready to use place ¼ cup mix in hot milk or water. Stir. For a special treat I add a dollop of whipped cream on top of each mug. *These natural sweeteners may both be replaced with 1 cup powdered sugar, then use a heaping ¼ cup mix per cup of water or milk.

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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