Saturday, January 2, 2016

We Are Family

I am going to St. Paul for Nationals. This decision did not come easily since our skater is not competing. On the other hand, all the stars aligned with nothing critical scheduled for that weekend at work, with excellent airfare, tickets and company offered by a good friend who won tickets in our auction benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. 


I posted on social media that I was going and it was like opening floodgates. Suddenly, everyone of my friends responded. From fans to coaches, skaters and media people the replies were the same. "That's so exciting! I can't wait to get together!" 

That got me to thinking.

I'm an only child. Growing up, I was primarily raised with adults who were in the entertainment industry. I didn't have siblings, though I did have a step brother and sister I saw infrequently and for very short periods of time. My family world revolved around my parents, their friends and their friends' children. I had my friends at elementary and secondary school, then at university. They all came and went with the wind and I understand that. Lives change; interests change. 

It may surprise some of you that I am somewhat of an introvert. Yes, that is greatly at odds with what I do for a living; it is, however, something I learned at a young age being raised in a media family. When you are home, you can be yourself. However, when you are in public, it's Show Time! You're "on," no matter what. 

I mention all of this only because it puts in perspective the amount of surprise I felt with the reaction I received to my simple statement of attending my 14th US National Championships, and only the second without a "horse in the race," so to speak - the first being St. Louis when we attended because it was an Olympic year and we were in the first alternate slot. Tickets had been purchased and we wanted to see how different the vibe was when skaters were laying it all on the line for a trip to The Mountain. This made me realize that I was now a member of a like-minded, occasionally (okay, more than occasionally) dysfunctional family of people who look forward to this frozen reunion in places that are many times difficult to reach, are always expensive but are undoubtedly exciting and certainly fun. Like all families, there's that weird member you could do without seeing, but for the most part it is a time to renew acquaintances and recharge the soul. 

A good friend of mine, whom I don't see nearly enough, posted on Facebook today:
 "I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them . . ."
No truer words have ever been spoken when it comes to skating. Everyone I have met, interacted with; those I have kept close and those I have let go, have all taught me something - not only about the sport, but about myself as a person. I have grown a lot in the past 27 years of being on both the inside and outside edge. 

So, I will pack my bags, my hat, scarf, boots and heart and head to St. Paul. After all,  I cannot think of anything better than having another chance to laugh, drink wine, cheer and hug. For those of you whom I will see at the Xcel Center in a few weeks, consider yourself warned: I'm that "crazy aunt" who will happily hold you close and give you a kiss, whether you want it or not. After all, we are family.
See you in St. Paul!


  1. Have a safe and happy trip!

  2. Can't wait to see you collect my kiss and hug Auntie Allison!!!! There will be a lot of hugging for sure.