The other day I was at the park when I spotted a stroller in the distance. It was moving faster than I’d ever seen a stroller go. I wondered if maybe it was hooked up to a motor. It almost looked like it was flying.  I fantasized about a Maclaren Jumbo Jet hybrid. That would be so cool: first stop, Neighborhood Park, next stop, Paris! But as it moved closer I could see that it was no such creation. It was actually a stroller being pushed by a mom on skates. I could tell immediately that this woman meant business, she got things done, she was utterly unstoppable. I looked down at my own street shoes and suddenly felt so ordinary, so landlocked. As she zoomed past I noticed her long legs; they were muscular and laden with tattoos of jungle creatures and phrases written in Sanskrit.  This woman was at once sporty, hardcore and graceful. She was awesome. I immediately began constructing her back-story:

Ever since she became a mother Vicki no wait…Roxi. Yeah Roxi needed to let off some steam. She’d always been a skater in highschool- field hockey mostly, sometimes street races. After giving birth she thought about a return to the rink. She got out her stick and practiced in her old jersey but something just didn’t feel right. The stick just seemed to distance her from the joy of the skate. It got in the way. That’s when she just happened to glance down and notice an ad in the local paper, “Roller Derby looking for hardcore skaters.” She returned to the mirror and looked at her formerly pregnant belly, she thumbed the extra skin that now hung over he belt line. She noticed a clump of dried avocado near her scalp. She didn’t even bother trying to get it out. Her kid was only going to throw more up there tomorrow. “I used to be hardcore,” she said to herself. And that’s when she decided to be hardcore again. “I’m joining a roller derby,” she told her husband when she got down stairs. “Roller derbies are hot,” he said and then threw her down on the counter and they had sex like in the old days.

Roxi started training; she scaled the monkey bars as her kid played with a shovel in the sandbox. She started wearing her skates to playgroups and sing-a-longs. Her husband built her a little track in the back yard. She’d put the kid in the Baby Bjorn and just burn rubber. He also made her a mix tape of all the songs that make you want to tear shit up. And she wanted to tear shit up. She started carrying a shank in her diaper bag. After all, there is hitting and pushing in the derby, she had to get good at hitting and pushing. She practiced on the mothers who gave her glares and the old ladies who offered her unsolicited advice. “Oh yea, you think my kid should be wearing a hat? How’s about you eat my skate.”

The rest just happened as if it was always meant to be. She went to the tryouts and skated like the track was on fire, she broke a few arms, did some moves they’d never seen before and then on her victory lap she whipped out a Born Free bottle full of Jack Daniels and sucked that nipple till it was dry. They accepted her on the spot. We’re going to call you “roller derby mom” They said, “You’re going to be our derby star.”

Now Roller Derby Mom is a legend and she’s my avatar too. Tomorrow, I’m hitting the town just so I can pretend to be her. Roller Derby Mom does not get her feelings hurt when she goes to a playgroup and no other mothers talk to her. She just walks right up to them, kid in arms and says, “I’m awesome. Don’t you want to know me? And my kid…my kid is freakishly good at being a kid, so I’d recommend you jump on this train.”  Tomorrow I’m going to do that, too.

Roller Derby Mom does not feel guilt when she gives her child ice cream because she wants to buy herself five minutes to shit with the door closed. Derby mom knows that’s just what you do to get by. It’s survival. Derby Mom knows guilt is just wasted time. Tomorrow, I’m going to  know that too.

Roller Derby Mom embraces every adventure. She’ll drive to the beach in the rain just because she suddenly has the desire to show her kid what it’s like to be really, really wet. She doesn’t worry about whether or not she’s going to have to pay for parking or if she’s going to get lost or if her kid is going to scream the whole way there. Derby Mom will just scream louder. Tomorrow I’m going to be really loud too.

And after the playgroup, and moment of privacy, and trip to the beach I’ll send Derby Mom off to the rink. “Thanks for the inspiration” I’ll say as I fall into bed next to my daughter. “Gotta go break some arms,” she’ll say, “Come to the rink.” She’ll invite me, “It’s the place to be”

“That’s all right” I’ll mutter half asleep next to my child, “ Maybe another time. For now I’m good right here.”

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