Thursday, July 29, 2010


Last night was one of my favorite nights of television; Toddlers and tiaras night. TLC runs back to back episodes all night long, and last night was the season finale to boot.

This is one of those shows that reminds me of how not crazy I am. I could be a lot worse. Last night was pretty amazing as one mother ripped off her daughter's crown and sash, then placed it on herself declaring, "We did great! We did wonderful!"


Unfortunately my husband was home to share in the insanity. And there were boys in the pageant this episode. You see where this is going? The boys got costumes, they did routines, they wore makeup, and they won awards. The boys were having fun. There was an unspoken tension between me and my husband as we watched, and later on as we went to bed, I said, "It won't be like that."

"It better not be." He wasn't threatening or anything, but I don't think he's come to terms with all of this yet. He was more worried and bemused.

And to think, I had been wondering that day if a light eyeliner might be in order to help K's eyes not fade when he's alone on the ice. I know that I won't be able to take his crown. There are no crowns.

I keep eyeing the schedule for next year, and somehow my schedule got completely full within the span of a week. There are at least seven competitions slated up until June, and I'd like to shoot for three. Add three competitions to two ice shows, plus practice for the above, and K had been booked.

I've promised myself I won't be worrying about it until after vacation. after that's done, I will think about the November competition. No worries until then. Yep.

Tonight is family skating night.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Well that was Easy

Contrary to my first two visits to the Skate Shop, this was actually easy. I wasn't treated dismissively and K got some great skates. I mean, GREAT skates.

We got there a little early, as I had padded the time of the trip by fifteen minutes to allow for lights, accidents, me getting lost, that stuff. None of that happened. I pull into an empty lot and we settle in to wait. Within a few minutes, a big black Lexus SUV pulls up next to me with a mom, a dad, and a bouncing little girl inside.

Oh crap, here we go.

Mom and Dad wait in the car for a few minutes, then get out as the clock ticks nearer to opening time. Now, the door sign states "Closed." I work in a retail environment, and CLOSED means WE'RE FUCKING CLOSED AND YOU ARE NOT COMING IN. I get that, and so I respectfully stayed in my car to wait, where we watched clouds and the amazing blue sky. Mom and Dad, however, were peering into the windows, knocking on the glass, and tugging on the door. See "CLOSED" point I made prior.

I wondered if skating parents, by the fact they often spend money out their gilded assholes, believe themselves to be unfettered by trivial things like CLOSED signs. I believe I had my answer.

At opening time, the sign was flipped to OPEN and I saw them being let in. I popped the trunk, and a train went by.


"Do you want to wait for a minute and see if another goes by?" I wanted to spare him exposure to the crystalline pink sweet of a tiny girl skater and her entitled parents. The last time this happened, mom was an utter bitch who must have known I wasn't even close to her tax bracket.

"YES!" K agreed to wait for a moment.

I stuck my head in the door, where, sure enough, Princess Sparklypoo was flurrying over spinners the Zuca Bags. The pink ones. I'll write about the Ultimate Scam that is the Zuca Bag later. "We're here for a fitting, but he's waiting to see if a train goes by," I explained briefly.

The store people understood.

But no train came, and so unfortunately we had to go in and listen for a moment as they agonized over a pink frame and which spinner to purchase.

A nice man sat down with us to talk skates. K volunteered that he was in Pre-alpha, but doing spins and jumps and crossovers. Nice Man agreed that a lace-up was in order. He measured and thought, then disappeared.

Then the unthinkable happened. He came out with a pair of Boy Skates, USED!! "I have these, they might work."

"GOD BLESS YOU," I was so relieved. I was anticipating the worst, $150 to $200. These were $70, and they were nice skates.

Mumsy and Daddums heard my proclamation of relief, and they shot me a look. I wondered if Used Skates had ever graced their child's feet.

The man laced them up, K walked around for a bit and declared them good. The blades were examined, and were in such good shape as to not need a sharpening that day. We got a coupon for a free sharpening later on.

Princess bought her Pink Zuca and Pink frame, while I waited to be rung up. The man was even kind enough to put together the new blade guards for me. (I lost the last pair. bad me. Yes, they have to be assembled. Cut first, then screwed together. It's so lame.)

It's an odd juxtaposition; K's new-to-you skates which were a bit scuffed, versus a Zuca fitted out with glitter and gold accents. Money is a part of this culture, like it or not. I often wonder at the wisdom of pursuing this in the first place. Monied people are often not good people, and to expose my fragile K to some of the unintended meanness might be hard. But hey, this is all about growing up, right? Right.

I left feeling good. I'd saved a buttload of money, and was walking out with skates. I was ready to be waiting for four weeks, because that's what they told me about needing to order boy skates. We went to Target for beverages and shoe polish, and to kiss the day off right, Target was now selling boy's compression shirts for $10.

K was going to look like a pro today.

Sometimes I feel like the universe is with me. She's on my side, giving me what I need when I need it. Now that we're home, I saw the "Wilson Excel" on the blades. These are $60 blades. The boots are Riedell of some quality; the soles are not PVC. Buying these new would have been out of the question.

But the stars aligning also makes me wonder about fate. Is it fate? Was this "Meant to Be?" Saint Lidwina, is that you? If it is, then I thank you.

Back to the rink in a half hour, to try new skates!

Buying Skates

Today (yes, actually today) is skate fitting day. K's Riedell Soft Series Skates were clearly meant for a little boy who doesn't skate as often or as hard as K does. The Velcro is curling up and around, losing its power of stick. So, I'm taking him up to the far suburb of Neverwhere, to the pro shop.

There, a kindly woman or man will measure his feet and recommend a skate that will surely unbalance my budget for the next month or so. The kindly woman or man will also speak to me with "the tone." It's not quite patronizing, as it shouldn't be because I'm paying for this, but it's also not quite friendly. It's the Skating Mom tone.

Let me explain. Let's go back to the first time I bought K skates.

After the terrible debacle of trying to get the right size skate at the rink, I determined to have K fitted for his own skates. I just didn't trust myself to size them and lace them on my own, and I was scared of my own parental ineptitude against the forces of gravity and ice.

So I did some research online and found a place that sells ice skates. Just ice skates, and just Figure Skates. I emailed, made an appointment, and off we went. (We'll go into the cost of skates and how I almost shat myself later.)

We drove up there on a warm March evening, drove into an empty and small lot, and strolled into an empty shop where a man was at a grinder.

"Hi, we're here for a skate fitting." I said nicely.

"Great, have a seat."

K and I sat down. K was in a mood. Great.

As we were waiting, another family walked in. A mom, a large dad on a cell phone, and a twiggy daughter. The Daughter sat down, and the mom went to the counter. "She needs new boots," she pointed to the quiet girl.

"Ah, okay." The man made a call, whereupon another man came out.

"Hi there, *insert name of Twiggy*" the second man greeted them. "New boots?"

They struck up a conversation about boots, one where the girl didn't speak, and soon an assortment of white boots where being tried on. The mom dominated things, and dad took multiple calls on his cell phone, excusing himself outside about every five minutes.

The first man sat down in front of K. He tried to talk to K, but K was refusing to speak for some reason. I explained that we'd just started skating, he went to the Royal Crown Cola rink, and he liked it. (You'd never know that if you saw him sitting there, unmoving and unspeaking.) I knew what it looked like. I was THAT MOM.

I listened to the conversation next to us.

Girl: Mom, I don't think I need new boots.
Mom: But Honey, you're not landing your jumps. This might help.
Girl: I just don't think...
Mom: We're already here, they're on your feet. How do they feel.
Girl: ...

The man recommended a beginner skate, a soft booted skate. He brought them out and had K walk around in them for awhile. "This will be fine for him," The man shrugged. "It's a half size too big, but just put him in some heavy socks."

Great. Room to grow in. Perfect. K was smiling now.

The other mom, the big one with the Twiggy Daughter, she noticed what was going on. "How old is he?" she asked.

"He's six. He just started," I said politely. This woman scared me.

"Oh, enjoy this!" She cooed. "This is when it's fun! He's so cute!"

This is when it's fun? When is it not fun? I looked at her daughter, who was staring down at a white boot and wriggling uncertainly. Twiggy gave me an uncomfortable, yet polite smile.

The dad came back. "Oh, skating is great," he gruffed. "She's gotten so much out of it. They learn so much. Right honey?"

Girl: ...

"And now is when you can relax and enjoy it," Mom continued.

"Well, I'll remember that," I tried to politely wind this conversation down.

The clerk was sharpening K's skates, and I was now anxious to leave. I glanced around at the walls. "Do we need," I pointed to the weird blade guards.

"Nah, you don't need that stuff," the clerk said dismissively. "You could get a soaker if you wanted to, but you can just throw a towel in the bottom of the bag."

Somehow I got the feeling that these people didn't expect to see us again. K was getting tired and now back in a mood. Well, I could never accuse them of upselling.

We left, new skates in hand. Twiggy and her mom were still arguing about boots, and mom was saying that she liked the trophies, not the medals. I gunned the engine.

Back to today. I'm wondering what they'll say today. And I wonder how I'll feel about it. Will we get the same dismissive attitude, or will I be sold the light up blade guards?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

He likes it?

Let me pause here. The fact that K liked skating, to the point where he talked about it outside the class, was new to me. I was fully anticipating the words, "This is too hard, I quit," or "I hate falling down," or just rounds of tears.

That didn't happen. Anytime K fell, he got back up.

I had never witnessed this before.

That twinge, that one that kept bothering me whenever I saw an ice skate? It was a full on vibration now.

K likes skating. K lives near a rink. Lots of them, actually. Where we live is virtually saturated with ice rinks. We might have something, here.

Ice skating is something ethereal, isn't it? It's moving a human body across a sheet of ice, and making it glide, spin, jump and twirl in impossible ways, all on a quarter inch of steel blade. It's beautiful, mythically beautiful, and to think that my son might have an interest in such a thing was astounding. Not just watching it, mind you, but doing it.

I'm not going to lie.

I have harbored visions of K being the next Evan Lysacek. Fleeting visions that normally get shot down when he's doing his scooter-push sans "I hate you" move across the ice.

My son is moody, intense, thoughtful and thoughtless, changeable and changeless, an enigma to me even though I consider him a friend, and I am trying to whittle my Olympic dreams down to a successful local competition or two. Such a thing would work wonders for my weepy, moody, embattled little boy. He's fully half the size of other seven year olds, and its something he struggles with. However, within our brief six month foray into figure skating, he's learned that he can outskate the hockey kids who are bigger than him, and that alone makes me happy.

That's what this blog is about. It's about me reconciling my lost dreams of skating, my desires for my son, and my endless battle to not foist my wishes of greatness on someone who might not want that and who will feel terrible if he can't live up to it. He's seven, for cripes sake. Even if he does make the 2026 Olympics, that's sixteen years away.

I cringe at the thought that I've done that math. I cringe that I've even thought of it.

I can't talk about this with other parents. That's a subject for another post. So, I have internets, who are all encompassing and all forgiving. This blog is anonymous, and if it is seen and you recognize yourself, chances are that you've seen me and you can talk to me about it. I'll do a better job of protecting the innocent, I promise. I'm pretty nice.

What I've learned in six months of skating is akin to walking into another universe. I'm actually glad that my mother and I didn't do this when I was young. We would never have been able to stand it. When someone first laughed at me and said I'd be getting a Zuca bag, I had no earthly idea what the fuck they were talking about. What in god's name is a Zuca bag?

Now I know, and I wish I didn't.

The Parental Lineup

Three weeks go by. It's the first Saturday of skating class. I dug out a pair of gloves from the closet, and shoved them in K's coat pocket.

K was excited but nervous.

"Why are you nervous?" I asked.

"I don't know. Do I have to pick up the girls?"

Good lord, how much skating had he seen? "Not this week. Next week."

He saw I was joking with him and laughed.

"You won't have to pick up the girls if you don't want to. Ever," I assured him.

Off we went. We parked the car, and trundled in. We went through the double doors, and to the counter. "Hi, we need to rent skates for the class."

"What size?"

I stopped. Size? K's shoe size is ten. I think. "Child's ten."

The attendant handed me an impossibly tiny pair of skates. Should skates even be made this small?

I tried to shove them on his feet, but they were clearly too small. I went back for two sizes up. A Child's twelve. What kind of mother doesn't even know her own kid's damn shoe size?

The chaos was intense. Children, small ones, were everywhere, and all of them were tromping around with at least seven inches of sharpened steel on their feet. Signs were posted everywhere, "BEGINNER CLASSES FULL. REGISTER FOR NEXT SESSION." I had forgotten that the Olympics had finished up the month prior, and Evan was everyone's new hometown hero.

It wasn't too hard to tell the beginners from the pros. Snowpants and coats versus tights and leotards. Wheeled suitcases everywhere, and parents just as confused as me were all milling about in the noise.

Eventually I got his skates on, but I had no idea if I'd done it right. I looked around. There were two rinks. Shit. Which one? I didn't know anyone to ask. The smaller rink made more sense. So we trundled off to the small rink and sat on the bench. Girls in tights and leotards swept, careened and twirled on the ice, and I sighed. Their lesson was just finishing. Adults were filing in, putting on skates and giving us dirty looks.

"Oh, the kids go in the main rink," someone shouted from the door.

What? The Main Rink? Wasn't that too big? So we trundled to the Main Rink.

The doors opened to a wide sheet of ice and a large herd of children in various sizes. They were all taking off across the ice. "Where is Pre-Alpha 1," I asked some other grownup.

"I think they're meeting outside," she snuffed at me.

So we trundled back out. Sure enough, a woman in skates and a pantsuit was holding a clipboard and trying to take attendance. Children in winter gear were in a lineup against the wall, and the parents stood back expectantly. I remembered Karate class, and took my place. Shit, I forgot my camera. "My name is Coach L," she told the children. "Does everyone have mittens? Okay, now I'm going to check skates."

She went to each child and stuck her fingers down between the tongue of the skate and the ankle, apparently to gauge tightness. Most kids passed. K failed. Rather, I failed. "Not tight enough," Coach L pulled back. "Needs to be tighter."

I dove in, eager to get out of the gaggle of ridiculous parents, and tightened up the laces. As I was finishing, the kids were heading into the rink. Through the double doors. K caught up, looking at me in flashes, going where I couldn't follow. Beyond school, this was the first time he was leaving me.

I think all parents harbor some visions of their child being a "natural." It would be nice to see a new kid zip off across the ice like Michelle Kwan on the first day. It doesn't happen that way.

The new kids clung to the walls for dear life, their arms trembling with the effort. K included. The other kids, the ones who could skate, were crossing the ice lengthwise, doing an assortment of tricks as demonstrated by another adult. The new kids were encouraged to "get the feel of the ice" by pulling along the wall for awhile.

So off they went. K and some other little girl pulled ahead of the crowd, eventually winding up on the far side of the rink. I watched them move further and further away from the coaches, and I was getting more and more nervous. I stood up, tried to get someone's attention, but the glass between me and the ice was an effective barrier against parental interference.

K noticed what was going on, and began moving, on his own and off the wall, towards the rest of his class and Coach L. *bam* Down he went. He got up, marched forward, *bam* down again. He gets up, marches forward, slip *bam* down. Lather, rinse, repeat. Do this for half an hour. It was hard to watch.

Hell with this, I would have quit.

After a half hour of crossing the ice, falling down most of the time, the kids were ushered off the rink. Parents stood by the door, gathering up the bundles of winter clothes and mittens. K was all smiles.

"You did great," I said, wondering when the call from DCFS would come through for the bruises I was sure he had.

"What happens now?" he asked.

"um, we go home."

"What? Why?"

"Class is over. Time to go home.”

K was not pleased. He groaned and whined.

“Should we come back?”

“Yes. I like skating.”

Okay then. I resolved to find the public skating schedule and we would come back.

Through the Double Doors

We pushed through the Double Doors, where I was almost run down by a little girl in a leotard, dragging a suitcase with lighted wheels. She didn't seem to notice me, even as she ran me down.

I went in, and there were more girls, in more leotards, all with suitcases. The sign above the counter said, "RENTALS". It was then that I noticed the skates. Ice skates. I had forgotten that this place was also an ice rink. Something in me twinged, then died again.

"Can you take some donated books?" I put the bag on the counter.

The lady there smiled, said yes, and accepted them gladly. K and I quickly left, back to Karate. Back to the Zen Master and the Hyperactive Ninja Brigade.

Three months later, the karate session ended. I forgot to sign K up for another round of classes. I just didn't have the energy to keep up with something I had to cheerlead like that. K didn't even notice. He went back to laying on the futon, watching spongebob and being lazy.

Fast forward another year. K is six. We're at one of our Fancy Lunches, where we sip drinks and eat fancy things like fish eggs and lox. Just another carefree day for us, and a song comes on over the loudspeaker.

K listens a moment. "I like this song."

"Yeah, me too," I sip my wine.

"You know," he says carefully. "Sometimes I imagine that I'm spinning and twirling to the music."

I frowned. I had done that, too. "What, like ice skating?"


"Uh, well, we live near an ice rink. Do you want to take lessons?"


"Okay, I'll sign you up for the next set of lessons, then."

We ate the rest of our fancy lunch in silence. I ordered another glass of wine. Something in me twinged again. Shit. None of this was supposed to happen this way.
I remembered my mom, "Do you know how much that costs? Five in the morning!" If you can make her voice echo like they make it do in the movies, then this is much more effective. "Five in the morning! morning! morning!"

But K wasn't Michelle Kwan. K was K. K was six. K was a quitter, and a crier. I shrugged, finished the meal, and went home.

The next evening I ran into a friend at a school event. I mentioned something about the skating to her. She got all excited and brought me the schedule for classes, encouraged me to "sign up right now," and said she'd see me there. When she was gone, I looked at it. Pre-Alpha? That was the class my friend had pointed to. Ages 5 through teen? $110? That wasn't so bad. Karate cost $110.

I looked at the rest of it. Beta. Gamma. Delta, and then "Freestyle" classes that numbered one through ten. Huh. There was a picture of an ice skate, and a pretty girl in a florid pose.

The next day, I called the number. I signed him up for Pre-Alpha 1. As I hung up the phone, I realized I didn't know anything about skating. I knew that ice skates themselves were items that required some knowledge, lest a child fall and get hurt. "Weak ankles," was what my mom had always said. Crap.

But that first class was three weeks away. I had time.

It's a Boy

Fast Forward a few years. I'm married and in labor. My midwife is sitting calmly beside me, reading a People Magazine as I wonder what my funeral will be like after my body implodes. "Oh, are you pushing?" she asks me blithely.

I grunt and strain, wondering why television isn't more truthful about this whole birth deal. The nurses are talking about what they'll be ordering for lunch as the midwife asks me to reach down and touch the baby's head as it's half-in and half-out of me. I oblige her, but it's only to shut everyone up and get this baby going. There's no drama, no sirens, no screaming, no fainting. only some odd calm as pain slides away from me.

I didn't have any pain medication. I was "too far gone," according to my midwife. I think that applies to much of me now. I'm just too far gone. But I learned that pain has a saturation point that day. I learned that there's a moment where it just doesn't matter anymore. As the baby crowned, one of the nurses commented, "That must hurt!"

No, no it doesn't hurt at all, really.

The baby slid out without crying. There was a moment of silence as the midwife did something quickly and everyone breathed again. The cord had been around his neck. She put the baby on me, and he pooped. It was a boy.

All throughout this pregnancy, I'd thought I was having a girl. A sweet, skinny, beautiful girl, who would be everything I hadn't been. Yes, someone to find my lost dreams. I'd even named her; Sarah Marie.

It's a boy.

I didn't care anymore. I wasn't pregnant anymore. All I wanted then was a shower and sleep, in that order. I fell asleep first. When I woke up, the baby was sleeping in a bassinet next to me. I went to take a shower, and find out just what the damage was to my ladyparts. (It was horrifying. I've felt raw meat that was firmer.)

When I got out, two nurses were holding my new son and fell to chiding me. I'd committed my first act of parental transgression; Thou Shalt Not Leave Thine Child Alone. What the fuck, the kid had been sleeping. My shower had taken ten minutes, and were there not nurses everywhere?

No excuse.

It was the first of many acts of Parental Transgression. I never kept a baby book, that's a huge one. I lost his first lock of hair. I always forgot my camera, so I have few pictures. I tossed out toys, or I bought too many. It was always something. But through it all, we were close.

I love my son, and I'm happy to say he loves me. Over the years we've become a great team. My husband's work keeps him out a lot, so it's often just the two of us together. We go out for fancy lunches and expeditions to strange corners of the city. I show him movies he probably shouldn't see and he tells me all the bad words he hears at school. Are we friends? I'd say, yes. Should we be? Probably not, but I find my son to be one of the more likeable people in my life. So, if being a friend to my son is an Act of Parental Trangression, then it isn't the first.

He's a neat kid. He's not like other boys I know. Boys, as I knew them, were all rough edges. They play mean, they have action figures, they like import anime cartoons with swords and mutants. They fight. They curse. You get the idea. My son isn't like that. He likes bugs. As in, when we watch the fireflies on summer nights, he catches and releases all he can find to "check on them." He likes bunnies, kittens, and trains. His teachers love him, they call him the kindest and most compassionate child they've ever had. He's quiet, kind of shy, but cries at the most inexplicable things. He's a drama queen, making mountains out of molehills. One "bad thing" that happens to him will derail him in a minute. He can't get over failure, and will quit at the first sign of losing a game or activity. While other boys might fight and tussle over who is "king of the mountain," K (that's what we'll call him) will storm off and cry in a corner before the game even starts.

That's where we are.

Sensing some failure in my duties as a parent, I signed K up for a Karate Class at the community Center. He wasn't doing any sports. Other boys do sports. Maybe he needed a sport to make him feel good about himself. We had gone through the catalog of activities that came in the mail, and while he'd shown no interest in any of them, he eventually sighed and gave up, settling on karate. The Little Dragons. He was five.

The class met once a week, and there were about fifteen little boys. The boys were playing a rough game of tag as they arrived, the parents all sitting in a row of chairs across the wide end of the room. I took my place among the parents, feeling very strange as I noticed every one of them had cameras. Were these people documenting every second? K didn't play tag. He sat next to me. "Go play," I said.

He shook his head. "I don't know them."

"Go make friends."

He rolled his eyes and got up. He went to a boy. "Hi," he said, in a tone that clearly meant "my mom is making me talk to you." The boy ran off to find someone more fun.

I sighed.

The class started, and soon all the boys were a haphazard ninja army being herded around by a sweet young woman possessed of a remarkable patience. The line of parents, who outnumbered the kids two to one, watched. They snapped pictures, ooh'ed and ahh'ed, and generally were everything I wasn't.

At the end of the session, I went ahead and signed him up for another. While it wasn't something he actively talked about or looked forward to, it was all we had. K and I went along with our carefree days, routinely interrupted by Karate Class.

One afternoon we cleaned out his bookshelves, clearing out all the "baby books." "Hey," I said. "The Karate Class is held at the Community Center. Maybe we can just take the old books there and donate them."

K thought that was great. So we bagged them up and took them off with us. I asked the Zen Master of the Karate Class where I could drop them off. She shrugged, and said there was an office "through the double doors." She pointed off to a set of double doors I hadn't bothered to go through before.

Something to start with.

Hi. I'm a new skating mom. New, because I've only been doing this with my kid for a few months now, but I'm sensing a spiral into something I can't fully control, and I can't talk about it for reasons I'll go into later.

So, hi. **waves at internets. Patient and quiet internets that listens to all ramblings on anonymous blogs.**

Let me tell you a little about me. I'm 33, a relatively young mother, with absolutely no history in skating whatsoever. I never skated as a child, beyond the few field trips to the roller rink and I doubt that counts.

In 1993, the skating world was all aflurry with the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan fiasco. You couldn't turn on the TV without seeing one or both of them, skating around or hobbling off. Something like that. I think it was then that I got entranced by skating. I was fifteenish, so far too old to ever do anything Olympic, but still young enough to learn to skate.

My mom, however, didn't see things that way. A few years later, when Michelle Kwan won her Silver, I think she saw the glimmer in my eyes. She was ever the bountiful font of love and support, my mom. "Do you know how much that costs?" she sneered. "They have to pay for all that time on the ice!"

I didn't reply. How could I? We were a poor family of two, and dad never sent the child support checks on time. She kept going. "And do you know they have to go practice at five in the morning! Five!"

Now, this part didn't seem so bad. Five in the morning was pretty routine for the two of us, who frequently drove off to the far corners of our state to attend boring meetings for Masonic Youth. Ice skating sounded a lot better than sitting in a car or in a boring meeting.

But, the money and the early mornings ruled out skating for me entirely. I think every little girl has the same dreams; be a princess, a ballerina, a gymnast, or figure skater. I think some girls get chances to try out those dreams, whether it be a princess for her daddy, a ballerina for a day at some recital, a gymnast until she hurts something, or a figure skater until the ice gets too hard. But she gets to try, right?

I never got to try. It's just as well. If Tonya Harding was known for her "thick thighs", then I'd be one of the Budweiser Clydesdales out there. I've got a sturdy build, there's nothing winnowy about me whatsoever. A Skating Dress, with it's petite A-Line would have looked ridiculous on me. My arms tree branches, my legs are muscled and thick. My waist, where is that? I saw it once, but then I discovered booze and away it went. Further, my self esteem at that age could never had withstood skating girls. Nah, I was an outdoor girl. Camping, hiking, boating, fishing, catching blue crab and roasting them on a fire. Those were truly the days. Figure skating? I'd have gotten the ice dirty.

But sometimes, late at night, I'd listen to my walkman and I'd dream. I'd see myself gliding across the ice in a white spotlight, my tiny dress on my tiny frame, shimmering silver as I spun and twirled to a crescendo of music. Skating belonged to the safety of my dreams. As the years passed, even those dreams quieted to nothing. Eventually, skating fell out of my awareness. Even during Olympic years, I'd cycle through channels, pause briefly on figure skating, and keep flipping.

That's that, right? A girlhood dream, gone forever by circumstance and fate, much like the dozens of other dashed girlhood dreams of a million other girls. No big loss.

Nope. No loss at all.