Bear in mind throughout this story that Dad worked an all-nighter at a concert venue prior to doing this. Dad deserves a medal.
Sleepless Dad took Stitch to the rink at 10am as scheduled for the test. Mysteria was nowhere to be found, so Coach took Stitch in with her student for some pointers to wait. "Some pointers" turned into "Free lesson" as Mysteria never arrived.
By this time, I had called Dad, asking for results. Dad said he didn't know, that no one knew where Mysteria was.
"Did you ask the desk?"
"No, I don't know who to ask."
"Any of them! Just ask if Mysteria is there!"
"I don't want to do that."
So I hung up and called the stupid rink, at which point I was informed that Mysteria doesn't usually arrive until Noon on Wednesday. Then I got mad, because it's not fair to pump Stitch up for The Big Test and then keep him waiting interminably.
I called Dad again, and Dad was at this point talking things over with Coach. Coach seemed to think he'd be fine, but she had to leave to attend another comp elsewhere. Okay, we understand this.
But that meant Stitch was on his own. Dad agreed to hang out at the rink until noon, waiting for Mysteria.
Mysteria finally arrives a little after noon, and expresses surprise that they are still there and untested. She says that she ascribed Coach Someone (Dad forgets who) to administer the test. Dad says that at this point he was exhausted to the point of shaking, "so she probably thinks I was having some kind of seizure, but maybe that added to the pity factor."
Mysteria, Dad and Stitch head into the Big Rink, where it's maintenance hour. There's a lift on the ice replacing a lightbulb. Mysteria asks everyone if they're okay doing the test with the lift on the ice. Stitch thinks this is awesome, and I think in any other state of mind Dad would have said no for safety's sake.
Dad tells me that Stitch skated the program the best he's ever seen. "It was amazing," says Dad. "Given his mood the previous day, I was sure he wouldn't pass."
Mysteria awards the title and the patch, and Stitch is suddenly on Cloud 9. Dad tells me he was bouncing all over, and I really only cared that he said "Thank you." He did.
That night we picked up Grandma from the airport and the first thing Stitch showed her was his two foot, one and a half rotation hop. I had to stop him from doing his skating moves in the baggage claim, for fear of him hurting himself on the granite floor. Coach called me later on that night, expressing her pleasure that he finally passed and cancelling the Camp session the following day. This was fine by all of us, as Grandma H (my mom) wanted to go see a movie. Stitch ate cherries out of the jar and drank syrupy Shirley Temples.
So, what did I say to him? Tuesday night, out on the front lawn, I asked him if the test was important to him.
"It is important to me, mom," he sounded a bit bereft.
"If it's important to you, then you need to own it. We can't do it for you. Everyone knows you can do it, you just need to throw yourself into it the way we all know you can."
"I don't know how."
"Try this; when you take your place on the ice, close your eyes and imagine it's competition day. Imagine the audience, with me and your grandparents and Dad and the Photographer. Imagine you're in costume, and the announcer calls your name. When you open your eyes, you're there, and skate just the way you would for the judges. Will you try that?"
Either he did what I told him to do, or he finally understood that this was his problem. Or he was genuinely concerned about me getting nailed with a shovel by Gordon's dad. Whatever.
All this makes plain to me the value of these little competitions for Stitch. I don't think he would have done what he did were it not for the push of a competition behind him. He stood to really lose if he didn't own up to his potential, and when he did, he was absolutely elated.
Tomorrow I have the day off, so I can attend Lessons for the first time in a month. I'll have costumes so we can do Dress Rehearsal. I'm excited, and the countdown is nearing the hours mark.
In Acting Terms, it is Bad Luck to wish an Actor Good Luck. I told Stitch this and he looked at me like I was crazy.
"So, instead of saying 'good luck' we say 'break a leg'."
"We don't really want them to break a leg, but..."
"Since you're a figure skater, we really really don't want you to break a leg, but you do fall a lot. So we decided the best way to wish a skater good luck was to say, 'bust your butt'."
"So, bust your butt tomorrow at the test, okay?"
Let's hope he busts his butt just as hard on Sunday!