Sunday, August 26, 2012

18 Months...

 I never really thought about it. We've spent 23 years of our lives involved in skating. Twenty three years: 1,196 weeks, plus or minus time off for good behavior. 8,372 days, plus or minus (mostly minus) vacation and sick days. 200,928 hours; 12,055,680 minutes - and counting. The time has been like the skating bills; it's something I dealt with but never totally calculated. (I hope my math is right!)

But here I was, sitting at an outdoor cafe table with my skater as he was putting things in perspective. Eighteen months before the next Olympics. Eighteen months before he transitions into the next phase of his life and career. Eighteen months before we transition into the next phase of our lives and officially "retire" from being competitive skating parents and transition into the role of figure skating elders. 
All of a sudden, I was feeling old. Very old. 
I've talked about this experience being like an E Ticket ride. If you don't know what means, Google it. As I listened to an outline of the next 18 months, my mind kept visualizing two E Tickets left; then the book is empty. There are no more to be purchased. Our pass to Tomorrowland and Space Mountain will expire. 

I know I'm sounding morose. That's not really the case. Nothing stays the same. Each ride has had its ups and downs; its twists and turns; most definitely its highs and lows. But each year our skater continued, we took a ticket and willingly got on board.  Like Space Mountain, we never knew exactly what to expect. Every curve kept us in the dark - laughing, crying and screaming the whole way, with hearts fluttering in anticipation - sometimes fluttering just a bit too much. Each ride, we learned a little more. Each ride, we realized how much more there was to learn. 

I wrote a note to a friend today about the last 23 years, and the 18 months to come. "It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know the ride is nearly over, but it is exciting to know when we went into it, we had a young boy full of excitement; we will come out of it sitting beside a man full of appreciation and determination as he heads into the next phase of his life."

It's nearly time to start thinking about spinning teacups and singing "It's a Small World Afterall.." But in the meantime, we have two tickets left, so we'll close our eyes - laugh and scream - and be grateful for the experience.

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