An Iconic Skate

"An Iconic Skate" by David and Mercedes Rizzo (

Copyright 2017 David and Mercedes Rizzo. All rights reserved.

This Christmas we took on The Big Apple. Our first stop was to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and boy, what a show it was! It was magical, especially for our daughters Danielle and Shannon. Danielle was mesmerized by the dancers, the music, and all the graphics.  Shannon, who is active in high school chorus and musical theatre, loved watching the Rockettes perform in one of the most famous theaters in New York.

"An Iconic Skate" by David and Mercedes Rizzo (

(Left to right: Shannon, Danielle and Dave). Copyright 2017 David and Mercedes Rizzo. All rights reserved.

After the show we walked across the street to the Rockefeller Center ice rink. Danielle, who has autism, participates in Special Olympics in the sport of figure skating, and we wanted her to have the chance to skate on this iconic ice. In fact, we carried her ice skates all around the city just to make this happen. She gracefully glided around the rink with the other skaters while Christmas music played in the background. She was in her element and she was beaming!

"An Iconic Skate" by David and Mercedes Rizzo (

Copyright 2017 David and Mercedes Rizzo. All rights reserved.

People come from all over the world to skate at Rockefeller Center. It is a special place and Danielle seemed to know that she was skating in someplace special. Because of her autism, it’s difficult to know how much Danielle understands. She is non-verbal and can’t tell us. Yet she shows us how she feels every day. She showed us that skating in Rockefeller Center meant something to her, that she was no different than all the others out on the ice under the shadow of skyscrapers and one of the biggest Christmas trees you’ll ever encounter.

A few days later at home we watched the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center on TV. We hoped Danielle made the connection that this was where she had skated. Perhaps we shall never know, but in our hearts we hope that she carries the experience with her throughout her entire life, and that this iconic skate continues to bring her much joy.

Copyright 2017 David and Mercedes Rizzo


About Author

David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).


  1. David and Mercedes, I am glad that you shared about both of these special memories. I especially liked the line about carrying her skates all over town so that she could experience skating in that specific location.

  2. Danielle looks so happy and confident skating at Rockefeller Center. She is a talented young lady. Wishing you and yours a Blessed,Happy and Peace-filled 2018.

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