I can still feel the chill on my cheek while whipping around the rink. I launch into a Double Axel. I land, all though shaky, feeling badly that I didn’t make it successfully. I turn the corner to see my mom in the parents’ viewing benches with a smile so bright she lit the rink for me. It turns out my coach had told my mom that I was ready to compete at the next level in figure skating.
I never understood the meaning of the lessons my mom taught me about competition until I became a mom. By her being proud of me for just doing what I loved is what really counted. It did not matter that I landed every jump or won a medal, it was about doing it with all I had in me. As I grew older, I wanted to be an actor. I became an actor. Hollywood only called briefly, and I am okay with that. It was not until motherhood found me that I knew success is about loving what you do.
I see my eldest daughter playing Barbies in her room. Her younger sister is lounging on her bed, dreamily watching the scene unfold. I think back to playing with my Barbies and my mom. Our imaginative stories would have elaborate plots and twists – through Barbie I was a doctor, a teacher, a world-class figure skater. A lump is caught in my heart and throat. My daughters never got to meet their maternal Grandma. She died a long time ago. It is up to me to teach them the lessons that I learned from my mom.
I sit down beside my girl who has her dolls seated in a semi-circle. I ask what they are doing. She looks at me and informs me they are at school. I ask what they are learning. They are learning to be a mom who tap-tap-taps on the computer sometimes. She gestures to one doll whose tummy is stuffed. I smile and gaze at my mother’s portrait hanging in their room. Without realizing it, I coached my daughter the same way my mom coached me: into believing, nay – knowing – that she can be whatever she wants to be no matter what. And my wish is that both my young girls know that I will be there cheerleading like my mom did for me during our short time together.