I get into position to begin my freestyle program for the upcoming regional competition later this week. I start as I hear my music come though the arena loudspeakers. I am fueled by the power and motivation that I will make this double salchow. I have to do it. There is no point of me competing if I can’t do the jump to give me higher points. Here we go. Up and away I go. Half way through I think about the land and feel that I will not make it. I land on two feet again. Ignoring my coach, I continue the routine. I do love figure skating but am not competitive. My family is filled with figure skaters. When I showed interest at four years old, they jumped me into lessons.
The wind from my speed stirs me around the corner towards the viewing area where all the moms, grandparents and other spectators are watching today’s practice. I look up and catch my mom’s eye. Her smile warms the chill I had felt. Seeing her face reminds me of the talk we had just this morning. She looked me in the eye and told me to have fun, and that is all that matters. If I am nervous, don’t be. Just have fun.
My mom died of breast cancer a week after that fateful day in the arena 26 years ago. Today. I am in the viewing area of the local gymnasium watching my three-year-old going through her routine. She does not land everything nor complete her rolls. I told her the same thing my mother told me all those years ago. When the fun stops we will find something that is.
Through the double-pane glass, I see my darling daughter searching for me. Our eyes connect and share a warm smile. The class does their wrap up song and then the door opens.
I hold my arms out to welcome my little acrobat. I ask her if she had fun. She replies with a big YES! I get her shoes on and we head out the door to the car.
I only had my mother for the first ten years of my life. I never appreciated her mothering gifts until I became a mom. She never was a great housekeeper or cook, but she gave me a great lesson. Unconditional love is the best gift I received from my mom. We have a lot more in common than I realize since being a mom myself.
I smile to myself as we pull away in the car. Knowing I parent as my mom did with me makes me feel closer to her.