Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memories and Kodak Moments - with a Moral

   It is something that usually eludes me. These days, I rarely find a quiet moment to myself to ponder "the meaning of life" as I know it to be. My reality of 24/7 is decidedly different these days but no less filled with noise than it was 20-some years ago. The noise has changed from a high-pitched cacophony to an occasionally discordant symphony with precious little melody; what is not different is my seeming inability to carve out that time for myself to do what makes my heart sing.
   I am not whining. Well, perhaps I am whining just a bit. What I am trying to do is figure out how to make quiet moments stretch into something that is beneficial for, introspective about and retrospective of my life. As all things do, this brought me back to skating and the mental snapshots that are the album pages I turn when I close my eyes and reflect on this continuing journey.
  It is interesting, but what comes back to me in these now faded images are my own "Kodak Moments." Without boring you all to death, I'll share a few. There is a point to this blog, so read on - or skip to the end for the denouement. 

  • First steps on the ice, not only my skaters but mine. We were both about 2 years old.
  • Red crab claws hand-sewn by me for "Under the Sea."
  • Ear infections and banging up the car on Valentines Day on the way to Pueblo for competition.
  • Being on the same ice in warmup with people who are still in the sport and are still great, great friends some 20 years later (wow, remember that Braden?)
  • Solo dance competition in Pueblo and having to duck below the boards so we couldn't be seen laughing as the coach and I were trying to figure out if the steps on the ice had anything at ALL to do with the music being played (remember, Lisa W?)
  • Pink and black checked pants and a flopping tie and suspenders that hailed "Happy Feet." We still have both hanging in the closet somewhere, along with the "Big Spender" hat that just wouldn't stay on. SO funny to look at that video now!
  • Stitches in my chin..Toe Pick!
  • Zorba the Greek
  • dance, dance, pairs, pairs...solo
  • Annie's Edges
  • Elements of Style and Ann Margreth's pizza plate rule for your arms still makes me smile
  • Dorothy Hamill silently floating in an ice induced early morning fog, skating interpretatively in only Mother Nature's sunlight to "Unchained Melody" as a fortunate few of us watched in silent awe through open board doors and dirty hockey glass not daring to breathe because we didn't want to break the magic.
  • Sitting upstairs at the Ice Garden during a Stars on Ice rehearsal after Paul Wylie medaled in Albertville. It was just the two of us.We talked for nearly 20 minutes about his memories of skating and the Ice Garden back in the days when he began. He left and my only thought was that most people on the planet would have killed to have had that moment. Of course, it now seems prophetic in its own Six Degrees of Separation kind of way. 
  • Weekly, long drives from the mountains to the Springs. Those were my favorite times of being alone to just talk, help with homework, listen to music and laugh. I miss those times most of all.
  • Finding a lost ring in the playground after a particularly difficult bullying session at school, and keeping the ring to remember what happened and what came out of it - a family phrase to live by, "Success will be your best revenge."
  • Olde World bagels for breakfast - and lunch - and occasionally dinner
  • The ever-present Starbucks
  • Learning you are not immortal, and neither are your friends. Then learning to move on.
  • Learning who your friends are; learning that it changes depending as much on your needs as theirs.

   So, why have I shared this album of memories that most of you don't care about? It's simple: My memories are mine. You are outside observers to what has been nearly a third of my life. What troubles me is when I see or talk to young skating parents who are not taking the time to build their own Kodak Moments. Their snapshots are Polaroids; quick to develop and even faster to fade. Their focus is blurry and the lens isn't pointing at what really matters - their skaters. After all, they should be the subjects of their attention and the ones who create those memories in dots, lines, dashes and broad colorful strokes. 
  Observe life, people. Take in your surroundings. File bits and pieces of conversations; cherish the quiet times with your child and seek to create them in your lives. File them away in your mental scrapbook as mementos. They are fleeting. And if the cover of your book is only decoupaged with medals and ribbons, with snapshots of podiums and trophies, you're probably not saving what is truly the most precious thing of all: Experiences.



  1. Thank you so much, Allison, for another beautiful post.

    I really like the part about how you cherished the drive from the mountains to the springs. I know it was a trek, but instead of dreading it, you turned it into some of your most valued memories.

    I can't step away from the practical: homework in the car without car sickness? Secret?

  2. * Driving to competitions, singing at the top of our lungs to "Unwritten."
    * Tim Hortons at 5:30 am
    * Trying to get hair the texture of corn silk into a bun the size of a marble.
    * Watching MaryJo do imitations of the other skaters in our familyroom and laughing so hard we couldn't breathe.
    * Calming down our skater after the worst crash and burn performance ever recorded in Darien, CT.
    * Carting around the pink metal Kettle car for the Love Shack showcase program.
    * The Battle of the Sexes: Our skater's older brothers, (both hockey players,) bet her that they could learn to do an axel in one day, so they showed up at the rink with used figure skates and DID IT! (Their form was questionable.) We all ate crow for dinner.
    * Sharing the same bed with our skater on mother/daughter skating trips and snuggling close at night.
    * Dreaming up and designing new dresses together.
    *Going to many Nationals as spectators and watching our skater meet all her heroes in the lobby.
    * Annie's Edges!!! (LOVE her!)
    * Watching our skater practice on her spinner.
    * Watching her older brothers practice on her spinner (and laughing hysterically.)
    * Paula Wagener <3
    * Morning sunrises while walking to the rink in Lake Placid in the summer.
    * and my #1 fav: sitting in the bleachers at all the rinks and just watching her skate, skate, skate, because she loved to skate.

  3. Such a great lesson for those on the ice and off...That moment with Dorothy Hamill will always be one of the most beautiful and special in my life.

  4. Beautiful memories. Those are the insights into a skating life we rarely get to see or hear about. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Molly - Thank you for sharing yours; it reminds me of even more. It makes me smile!!

    Alex - I am SO happy you remember that! How truly amazing it was and is firmly etched in my mind as one of the all-time great skating accidental moments in time.

    Beth - You are welcome. It's the little things that we don't want to forget. The big things take care of themselves, as my boss says.

    Diane - No practical answer for that one, my dear. Maybe a few more years of sit and camel spins will take care of it. Either that or some Dramamine :)

  6. What a lovely post. We always tend to focus on the happy (or unhappy, or somewhere in between) ending, but it's important to enjoy the process of getting there as well.

  7. Such a wonderful reminder that no matter where we are in our journey we must take time to enjoy, remember and cherish the moment.

    I love the drives with my daughter and our conversations - no DVD's or handheld games allowed in my vehicles. Many are shocked that I look forward to them. The drive there is filled with chatter, homework and reading and the drive home is quiet as can be for my own thinking time.