Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Longest Journey

Begins with a single step. Trite but true, this saying often keeps me going through my hardest days and darkest nights. Step by step, moment by moment, one by one, the process happens and life in its entirety moves steadily forward.

This morning we arrived at the Rink to discover we were once again banished to the small ice. Mr V was complaining about the group of bigger skaters who were sharing the space and that this was a "wasted lesson." Ms V had the Rosetta Stone of a Practice Ice form and was asking me which clinics Gordon should take, but that she didn't want him skating more than twice a week because it was summer and Gordon needed time to be a Boy. I said I didn't know anything about the clinics at all and that our summer was officially shot to hell and back. (More on this later. Pretty bummed about it.)

I eventually migrated to Fab Skater's mom, who forewarned me about the mess that would be summer ice. "Every day there's a screaming match. Better reserve what spots you want now, and get it while the gettin's good."

Point taken. I completed my form and settled business in the office. Stitch should have ice for the first half of summer. How good it will be I can't know, but it's ice.

I moved into the rink for the last ten minutes, to watch and see what they were up to. Now alone on the rink, Coach and Stitch were working on the half flip. But instead of Stitch landing on his toepicks, she was getting him to land in a glide. And he was getting it. Small steps, one at a time.

After ten attempts, each one better than the last, she said they were going to do something new. I heard Lutz, and I bit my lip. Really?

Stitch got stepped through landing position, pick in, and up, land backwards on two feet. He got that a few times. "Okay," says Coach. "Now turn around in the air."

Stitch protests, but after a few tries, he's on the right path to a Half Lutz. I'm just watching. Time is running over, no one is caring, smaller children in the lower level class are arriving and all eyes are on Stitch. "Look at that little boy," says a dad. "Think you can do that someday?"
His daughter shakes her head no.

Yes, she will. If Stitch can, she can.

Another mom keeps her boy from going on the ice. "Not yet, honey. There's still a class going on."
"But why is he the only one, mommy?"
"Must be a private lesson," the mom frowns.

Once again, luck and chance paint Stitch and I as freespending weirdos. Really, these moments alone on the ice are rare as diamonds. Coach grills him on arm position. "You want to do triples? Quads? Hard to do when arms are not in position."

Stitch is half lutzing, stronger at first but then the skill fades as he tires. He's been at this for forty five minutes. Coach dismisses him and I greet him at the door. "Look at you, Patrick Chan! That was awesome!"

"We were just talking about Patrick Chan," says Coach. "See you tomorrow."

Yes, of course. Why were they talking about Patrick Chan?

Stitch and I walk to the store for a drink and snack, and to get out into the air. He's happy and bubbly, but says he was "terrible" at the new skills. They're new, I assure him. Keep working at it.

Later on, after group lessons, Other Kid approaches me. "Hi!"
"Hello, " I reply. "How are you today?"
"I think Stitch should practice his tricks more!"
"Tricks? What do you mean?"
"I'm practicing my Axel!" and he sets down his things and jumps into an "Axel" (I guess) but nearly lands on his face.
"Keep working on it," I just want to walk away, not wanting Other Kid and his Haxels ruining my happiness at today. Fortunately, Other Kid leaves, and Stitch comes out of the bathroom, having changed out of his skating clothes and into Real Boy clothes.

So it was a morning of me being That Mom, having That Kid, and now we're cleaning and back to reality. Tomorrow I start sewing another costume piece, and my business cards should arrive after Ice Show. If all luck holds, my pieces should start falling into place with Stitch's skills, one piece at a time.

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