Monday, October 1, 2012

Remembrance of Things Past

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

If you have been following my blog for some time, you may know (or you will know now) that I was an English major in college. One semester, I had an entire course on Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," a stirring little  3,000 page ditty in seven volumes.
That about sums up my life as a skating mom: A stirring little  8,760 page ditty, but in nearly 24 volumes - and probably about as interesting ... or uninteresting, depending on your point of view. 

Much like studying Proust, my tome is mostly tedious and self-involved, but the telling of it is cathartic for me, and is a lot cheaper than going to a psychoanalyst to figure out how we got involved in this insane sport in the first place. 

"Marcel Proust devoted his life to unraveling the mystery of time. He uncovered the secret of extracting the "permanent and the significant" from "the transitory and the trivial." He sought some "permanence" in a world where things, people, ideas, and feelings seemed ephemeral, and "importance" in all of our too often trivia-filled lives. Proust discovered a formula that could give meaning to his life and, through his "work of art," the lives of many." (Jeanette Lowan - Free Inquiry Magazine)

Yeah, this blog is something like that, especially the "trivia-filled lives" part. And there is no mystery to unraveling time. As I've stated before, time simply "is." What we choose to take away from our experiences are the remembrances of things past, so here are a few of mine, though I ask that you please don't inquire about the venues or the exact dates. I'm lucky to have any memory of these things at all, because as Proust would say, “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

Here are just some of the Highlights (and low-lights). I remember... 
  • The first time my son set foot on the ice at the age of 2, holding a cone for about a minute before deciding he could do go it alone.
  • The first time we went to an ice show and saw Robin Cousins skate. That literally changed the path of our lives forever.
  • The first skating show where I had to sew a Sebastian costume with felt red claws for "Under the Sea." (Note: I do NOT sew!)
  • The first "Funtastics" Basic Skills competition in Denver where my video camera died just as my son stepped on the ice.
  • The first competition in Vail, one that was well chronicled by Braden Overett in a video from "An Evening on Ice" in 2011.
  • The first competition in Pueblo that same year where I do have video of Braden doing his first axel and my son skating to Calypso music in a bright red and gold body suit. (What was I thinking!!)
  • The first figures test, which was followed by five more and finally a trip to another rink before there was a passing test.
  • The misbehaving derby hat that kept flying off a few years later in "Big Spender," which was the first single Axel performed in front of a crowd. It was also the first time suspenders became part of the equation.
  • Another Pueblo competition in solo dance where the coach and I had to duck behind the boards because we were laughing so hard as two older club skaters positioned themselves at the rink corners counting out loud while my son seemingly skated to music he was creating in his head. (Interestingly, he took a bronze in that competition, but I think it was a pity vote, or one in support of being the ONLY boy.)
  • Ending up in the emergency room after doing my own toe pick during a club session, freaking out the little kids on the ice as blood gushed from a small cut on my chin. 
  • My son taking me through my preliminary dances. Never mind that he came to just above my waist, which made it difficult for the judge to keep a straight face while she watched me struggle with the Rhythm Blues. (I did pass, but I think it was another pity vote.)
  • Being a tree on ice in a club show.
  • Building club show sets.
  • Selling rubber ducks to raise money for skating.
  • Sitting in the stands gluing sequins on a REALLY UGLY shirt for a program to Peruvian pipe music (don't ask).
  • My first pair of skating earrings my son purchased for me during a Vail competition. He was eight years old. I still have them and I still wear them all skating season. (Personally, I think they should go in the Figure Skating Hall of Fame when he retires as some of the oldest-known pieces of skating jewelry on record.)
  • Driving nearly every weekend from Aspen to Colorado Springs for dance.
  • Driving nearly every weekend from Aspen to Colorado Springs for pairs.
  • Relocating to Colorado Springs so we could quit driving or flying every weekend. (Though it was nice to have the flight benefits when my husband worked a third job for the airline just so we could do that.)
  • Getting lost in strange cities.
  • Getting stuck in strange airports.
  • Bad costumes.
  • Bad hotels.
  • Bad practice ice.
  • Bad programs.
  • Bad food, but always good Starbucks.
  • Numerous Dragon Lady moms and way too many Darth Vader dads.
  • Some precious moms and dads that are friends for life.
  • Lots of wonderful coaches and judges with great patience and a sense of humor
  • A few coaches and judges I wouldn't put in that category.
  • Power pulls.
  • Power plays.
  • Power outages during competitions.
  • Powerful moments, on and off the ice, that are too many to chronicle here but I will highlight over the next few blogs.
Oddly enough, like Proust's remembrances, all of this  rambling has a point: The competition season has begun. Step away from the rolling bag, the glitz and the glitter. Take a deep breath (that doesn't include hairspray) and take a few moments to appreciate what you're doing. You're taking a journey to your own enlightenment. Scrapbook the memories, but don't live in their shadows. Enjoy the "now." It  goes by so fast. And whether you take the path we've traveled, or you choose a different direction, the experiences and the people will be a part of you forever. 

Next Up: Channeling Oscar Wilde ("Either that wallpaper goes, or I do!")


  1. Verrry funny. Loved it!

  2. Thanks! I love laughter with a purpose :)I truly appreciate the support!

  3. Awsome...again. I need the fun and laughter...and honesty you provide. Thanks Allison!

    1. Thanks, San. You're a great cheerleader :)

  4. Love this so much!

  5. Wow. This makes my day! The next one will be fun, too. "Either That Wallpaper Goes or I DO," about hitting a wall with other parents, coaches, partners, skating and life in general. I know it sounds serious, but when you look back all you can do is laugh. Look for it in a few days.

  6. It's good to know that suspenderography has a long and respected history.

    1. Oh, it has a LONG history! Lots of suspenders in the early years!

  7. As an english major myself, one of the things I love most about literature: how it assists you in reflecting upon your own life. I remember and was present at a lot of your early highlight events. Thank you for reminding me of some of them and bringing back smiles and a little bit wanting to vomit if I ever had to hear Under the Sea music again :)

    1. Alex, some of my fav memories are of you and J. Remember that photo of him in your lap during the Dorothy show? Yellow unitards. Always a personal "favorite!"