Parent Blog: Living with teens
by Frenzied Femme
When I was a little girl, I used to skate on my parent's pond during the winter. The ice was often choppy and the weather freezing, but I spent hours outside anyway. I especially spent time outside during the winters of the olympics. I would watch the skaters on tv and dream of being just like them. I never was, but I did manage to teach myself how to do a spiral. I'm sure my execution did not match how I thought I looked. But, it didn't matter. I was outside, exercising, and dreaming. Could anyone ask for more for their childhood?
So, when my children asked to take skating lessons, how could I say no? There was a local class. I put one daughter into Basic 1 and the other into SnowPlow Sam. One the first day, they had moved the one in SnowPlow Sam to Basic 1. It is really a basic class. The first day, they learned how to stand back up after they fall. Then they work on mastering forward momentum.... push with the left... and the right. The girls really liked it. But unfortunately, the lessons moved during hockey season to a time when I could not take them. The skating Director explained how having a private coach and private lessons was not really that much more expensive. And, the girls switched to private lessons.
The change has been so gradual over time.... adding another coach to work on artistry... another for jumps.... another for general coaching. But, over time, my middle child (the one who moved up to Basic 1 on her first day) has become a beautiful skater. I read articles that say the best thing you can say to your child about any sport is "I love to watch you play." But really, I do love to watch her skate. It is beautiful.
Both of my daughters have now been competing for years. It is difficult to watch a competition. I much prefer watching practice. I know in competitions that one fall means a big difference. But, this competition has really helped the kids. There was one season where my middle child could not string together 4 words before a competition due to nerves. She would skate like a zombie until she fell. And, she always fell. After she fell, she was a different skater. It was like the fall knocked her back to reality and then she could skate well. She did this for so many competitions until one where she fell... and won. Once she realized that she didn't need to be 100% perfect, she was finally able to relax. And, then she won every competition she entered for a year. My oldest is not as good at skating, but she still enjoys it. She has twice hit the wall during competitions. Hit the wall. I could see it coming, but I was powerless to stop it.
This week is Regionals. This is the event that the best skaters in the rink go to. This is the lead up to Nationals (what you see on tv). First it is Regionals, then Sectionals, then Nationals. Not every skill level has Nationals. But, Regionals starts at the lower levels. The best of the best go to Regionals (even at the lower levels). My daughter went for the first time this year. There is a big show a couple of weeks before the skaters go. The skaters perform one of their routines and they have a cake will all of the skaters names on it. It was a big deal to my daughter to finally be included. But, before the show, her skating started becoming erratic. She lost her double. We decided to still go, but to take her double out. She had no chance at success without the double, but she could then concentrate on her other elements. We decided it was enough to just have the experience of going.
Last Saturday, her coach decided to let her have the choice of putting the double back in. She had started landing it again when she no longer had the pressure of having it in her routine. We went the night before the competition to let her practice on the ice surface she would actually skate on. She practiced, and we went to the hotel for the night. We were fortunate that Regionals this years were only 2 1/2 hours from our house. So she only missed one day of school. We left after her school day to get her there for practice ice. When we got to the hotel, she went to unpack her competition dress to make sure it didn't have wrinkles. Guess what? She forgot to pack the dress. Inside my head I wanted to scream, "WHAT? HOW COULD YOU FORGET THE DRESS?" But, outside I just sighed and went to get the dress. The kids could sleep in the car. Which was a good thing since she had to be back at the rink at 6:30 am.
But, she pulled it together. Did she make final rounds? No. But, she didn't miss by much. She threw her double. And fell. But, she almost landed it. Had she landed it, I'm sure she would have been through. Still, coming to this level of competition and almost making it was huge. I am very proud of her. And tired.... very, very tired.