At the park across the street, the pond has frozen.
(This is actually what it looks like!)
Every time the pond freezes, I congratulate myself for saving my old ice skates.
About five years ago, when my little ones were taking skating lessons , I bought myself skates that actually fit me so that I could avoid renting the smelly ones at the town rink. I intended to give my old size 6 1/2 skates away. But I never got around to it.
Then, we had a cold snap, the pond froze, my kids wanted to go skating outside, where you’re really supposed to skate, and our au pair wanted to take them. But they don’t rent skates at the pond.
But then, I remembered those old skates. They were still at the bottom of the equipment basket in the garage! And although this particular au pair had tiny feet, the skates fit her well enough that she could join the kids on the ice.
And the takeaway tip:
Keep some of that old stuff — the extra bike that your brother left at your house 12 years ago, the bag of soccer balls, pinnies and cones from the years you coached the 3rd grade soccer team, your partner’s squash racket from graduate school, the guitar you don’t play any more — you never know when you’ll have an au pair who can enjoy them. We even had an au pair who used the first generation roller blades that my little sister handed down to me in 1994, that I think I used a total of once.
Yes, of course, I should recycle a lot of this stuff to friends, homes or charities that can put them to good use. And I do recycle some of these sorts of things. But ever since we’ve had au pairs, I’ve been happy to think twice about whether it might be worth it to hold on to something just in case I have an au pair who might want to use it.
Especially with things that wouldn’t make sense for your au pair to buy — like the ice skates she’ll be able to use just a handful of times, or the guitar that she can’t take back home on the plane — it’s great to be able to share what you already have and may not use.
Finally, a way to show my au pair that this super-cold weather can actually lead to fun!