Community: Born and Raised

 I did a large part of my growing up at a community centre. My life, from a young age, was anchored by the community centre that I spent nearly six days a week in. And I couldn't write about community without it including figure skating.
At thirty-one my mom did one of the bravest things an adult could do - she joined the community figure skating club. Thirty-one. That's a rare age to be signing up for a sport. But my mom, she's rare. She's a one of a kind human that has continually made decisions that have bettered our lives - even if she didn't know that at the time. So there she was, a mother of three young children out on the ice with a bunch of adolescents. She completed her dances and figures and eventually decided to become a professional coach. My mom, always wanting more, doing more, being more.  

It just made sense that my sister and I would skate. My mom was going to be at the rink anyway, we might as well be there too, being active. And so, as quickly as we were walking, we were skating. 
Now, I'm not writing this to talk to you about my skating skills, because let's be honest, they were nothing to write home about. No, skating was a hobby for me. I didn't win medals or go on to be a competitive skater but it did give me some amazing things that I will forever be grateful for.
Skating gave me community. As a relatively permanent fixture at the community centre we got to know everyone that worked there. Our village of humans that looked out for us, helped my mom out, tied our skates or drove us home was an incredible one. I have memories with so many of the other parents, and employees from the community. My mom was often on the ice longer than we were - she could go on coaching without worrying - there was always someone else around who cared for us or kept an eye on us.
It's funny how things happen, how there always seems to be a larger plan. As an adult now, and a mother, I find myself back in a similar place that I grew up. My kids join me at Vivo, a community centre in so many ways, five days a week. Every time I turn around there is another helping hand, someone wrestling with the boys, giving them a high five or racing them down the hallway. The village that we belong to cares for each other every day. We laugh, celebrate, grieve and grow together.
I hear a lot about community not existing anymore, and as much as I dislike arguing, I would argue this is not the case. Community does exist - it exists in pockets, pockets filled with people who makeup a caring village. Here's the thing, community exists, but it doesn't come looking for you. Remember that rare woman from the beginning of this? That thirty-one year old that went out into her community and joined the figure skating club? Belonging to community means putting ourselves out there - it is scary, and we feel vulnerable - but it's so worth it. Nearly thirty years ago, my mom probably took a deep breath and stepped out onto the ice for the first time in years. Her heart was likely beating fast and I am sure she felt nervous, maybe out of place or intimidated. But she did it. She stepped out and joined a community and in turn gave us the most incredible gift. 
There is no doubt that community and specifically our skating community, has shaped the person I am. To me, community is everything, but then it's no wonder why - I was born and raised in it. It will forever be something that I encourage, try to grow and deepen, not just for my family, but for everyone.

- lovefrommaria

P.S. Adam skated too - but not the figure variety - but we still love him.

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