As children we often pursue a sport or a passion that becomes a part of our identity. Maybe we are a gamer, or a swimmer, perhaps a skateboarder.
I am a figure skater.
I skated competitively as a child, both in singles and as a team, I was never on my way to the Olympics or anything, but I was happy with my accomplishments.
Skating is really a refuge for many skaters. Your rink is your home and your fellow skaters are your comrades; they are the ones who understand the lingo, that get the strange injuries, and can commiserate when you fail a compulsory test. Like with many things we do as children, I walked away when I went away to college only to have a couple of short returns here and there through the years. And when I became pregnant with my daughter I was pretty certain my skating “career” was complete.
Stepping into an ice rink is like going home.
When we moved to Milwaukee last year my daughter asked to take ice skating lessons and of course I was super excited by the prospect that she would be a figure skater. Yay, my opportunity to experience my sport from a whole new perspective! If I couldn’t be a skater anymore at least I could be a skating mom. I would share the love of my sport with my daughter. It had been years since I was in a rink and the first time I entered that rink for her lesson it was like returning home. Honestly, I felt energized, the way an ice rink smells, the way the chill air feels, the sound of blades on the ice, it all just makes me feel alive. And, I can sincerely say I was envious; envious of the young and accomplished skaters with their beautiful lines and extension. I wished I could skate like that again.
I will never experience skating the same way again but that doesn’t mean I can’t skate.
Physically, I will never be able to reach the level of skating I once had and emotionally, I’ve moved passed some of the needs skating fulfilled because as an adult I have different goals and priorities. Yet, skating is still something that brings me great pleasure, it brings me peace, and it makes me strong; also, and maybe most importantly, by skating I demonstrate to my children that by participating in physical activities that I enjoy I’m prioritizing my personal interests and my personal health.
So, with all of these thoughts in mind I joined a synchronized skating team. It is a team for adult skaters, although admittedly I’m one of the oldest. Some of these women weren’t even born when I was on a team as a teenager! Happily, they have welcomed me with open arms and the sense of unity and teamwork from skating with these women is exhilarating.
I cherish this opportunity to not only participate in the sport I love but to accomplish something with others that share my passion for skating. It has really highlighted the fact that as mothers we can sometimes forget about ourselves, forget about the things we enjoy, the things that we want to accomplish outside of being mothers; but by forgetting to put ourselves first, and failing to nurture our passions we can’t be completely happy and healthy for our children. I’m thrilled that I took this step and I’m excited by what this year is going to bring in terms of friendships, accomplishments, and better health.
Now, if I could just find a pair of skates that are comfortable on my post-pregnancy feet I could be completely content. Except for the fact that now my daughter now wants to be a gymnast.