Posts Tagged ‘hockey’

It’s early, very early. It’s Saturday and I’m up and out of the house earlier than on a weekday. There’s something inherently wrong with that statement.

The alarm went off at 5:33am although, truth be told, I was already awake. Sleeping in seems to be a figment of my younger days, like touching my toes or staying up past 11pm. I can’t seem to sleep in, even on the days my schedule allows for it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to bitch about having to get up.

I crept out of the room as quietly as I could and snuck down the hallway to‎ where I had left my clothes the night before. This kind of thing takes planning. A quick brush of the teeth was all the grooming required. Where I was going, that kind of thing doesn’t matter.

My daughter jumped out of bed much quicker than I did, thankfully. If she didn’t want to get up this would be even more difficult.

Standing in the soft glow of the kitchen light I got her a glass of milk and started to get her dressed. The fact that my kitchen floor is covered with hockey equipment at 5:40am no longer seems strange to me.

As I help her into her chest protector it hits me that this is one of those moments. One of those things that I have done a dozen times already and will probably do a hundred times more, and yet I wonder if someday I will forget. Someday maybe this will just be a distant memory, a punchline for a dinner party story. Remember when we used to get up so early for hockey practice? Ouch, wasn’t that painful?

But I won’t remember that it was also kind of special. The silence of the morning broken only by whispers. The well choreographed dance, each of us knowing our moves and what comes next.

A quick inventory at the door confirms we have everything. Don’t forget my stick Mom, she calls as she heads out the door. Right, don’t forget the stick. And don’t forget the travel mug filled ‎with hot tea, as crucial to me as the stick is to her.

The streets are quiet. We pass house after house, each more dark than the next. I think of the two we left sleeping at home. I turn the radio up a little louder, I hear soft humming from the back seat. She informs me that she’s not tired. I smile.

And now here I sit, watching her on the ice. I don’t know where she gets the energy to do this so early in the morning. All I have to do is sit here and that is difficult enough. I sip my tea, I fix my blankets, I say good morning to the other bleary-eyes parents as they arrive. I feel like part of a secret club. She’s only fallen once so far. I can’t believe the improvement. She tries so hard and it’s paying off. I could learn a few things from her about perseverance.

The cold is starting to reach my bones now. No matter how many layers I wear or how many blankets I bring it’s always cold. I finish my tea, I look down on the ice and see her smiling at me.

I don’t wave because I know she would roll her eyes at me.

Maybe she won’t remember these mornings either. But I will try. And I will try to remind her when it was her and I and the darkness of the streetlights and our cold noses and early morning hugs.

These are the moments to remember.

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‎If there’s one thing I know for certain about parenting, it’s that just when you think you have a handle on things, everything changes .

Just got used to the whole pregnancy thing? You’ll probably go into labour the next day.

Finally got you child to sleep through the night? Not so fast! Now it’s time to potty train.

Terrible twos (and threes and fours) finally a thing of the past? Now it’s time to start school and deal with teacher troubles and friend troubles and homework troubles.

And although I am reminded of this fact on a regular basis, I still find myself surprised by it all the time.

Like this past Sunday.

Both of my kids play hockey. My son started last year and the learning curve was steep (more so for me than for him). I have watched hockey for years and was under the (mistaken) impression that the jump from hockey fan to hockey mom would be a fairly smooth one. That was until the day I had to get him dressed in all of his equipment.

It was more complicated than ‎I ever expected. His bag was stuffed full of strange looking pieces of padding with straps and velcro, all of which served a very specific purpose and all of which had to be put on in a very specific way, in a very specific order. I felt completely lost. But, as the weeks went by I learned, with more than a little help from my five year old.

So going into this season I felt much more confident. I now know what the two different types of hockey tape are for and how to make sure his socks don’t fall down. I’m good. We’ve got this covered.

That was until he announced he wanted to be a goalie.

And just like that I felt like I had fallen down the slide on the Snakes and Ladders version of my life.

For those of you who may not be very familiar with hockey, the goalie wears about five times as much padding as the other players on the ice, including two huge pads strapped to the outside of their legs. There are buckles and straps and laces and more buckles and more straps.

So everything I learned last year was now pretty much useless. Just as I figured out how to be a hockey mom, I now had to figure out how to be a goalie mom. A goalie mom on a competitive team that is on the ice four to five times a week.

And that takes us to last Sunday afternoon. It was a regular practice day and I was sitting in my regular spot in the stands, travel mug in hand, one blanket between my butt and the cold wooden bench and another wrapped around my legs. My gloves were on, my imitation Uggs from Costco helped warm my feet. I was feeling good. I had a moment of peace pass over me. Sure, I may not yet know‎ which pad goes where but I have confidence I will learn. Things are okay; I’ll get there.

And then I looked down to the ice and noticed my husband waiving at me. He was ushering my son to the gate. He had to go to the bathroom. We made it to the change room and then it hit me…how was I going to get him out of his equipment in time? And even if I could, how would I get him back into it all? My hubby was on the ice helping th other coaches with the practice. This was all on me.

So somehow I figured it out. I devised a plan to take off just enough of the padding to do what needed to be done, but not too much that I couldn’t get him dressed again. ‎ Just like I figured out how to change a dirty diaper in an airplane bathroom, or how to cram myself in one of those little elementary school chairs during a parent teacher conference. Or how I re-learned long division and how to multiply things without a calculator so I could help my daughter with her homework.

Because there’s no manual for being a parent. I just have to learn as I go and trust that I’ll figure it out, eventually. And just when I do, things will change and I’ll end up in a bathroom stall with a 6 year old in 15 pounds of hockey equipment.

At the very least it keeps things interesting!

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In the midst of the day-to-day, the errands, the lists, the form and function of everyday life, sometimes the feeling of being a mother gets lost.

I feel like a caretaker, a cook, a maid, a teacher, a warden, but often the feelings that I always assumed would be part and parcel of being a mother are missing.

I originally thought that everyday would have a moment in which I would swell up with love, pride, disbelief that these amazing creatures had come from me.

Eight and a half years of motherhood have made me realize that reality is somewhat different than the fantasy.

I have now settled into the rhythm of it, the regularity of it, not taking it for granted exactly; more like accepting it for what it is. Acceptance to the point that now when a “motherhood” moment does strike, it’s with such force and emotion that I am almost left winded by the power of it.

They come unpredictably. I can never really see one coming until it is already on top of me, like a wave pulling me under.

Sitting in a tiny, child-size chair participating in my first parent-teacher conference not as the child being discussed, but the adult who is expected to participate in the discussion.

Watching the look on my daughter’s face the first time she saw the Nutcracker ballet. Looking the other way and seeing my mother’s face as she watched her own daughter, now grown, and her granddaughter.

Yesterday, another one hit as I sat in a freezing cold arena, my hands laced around a cup of steaming, hot tea, watching my son play hockey for the first time.

He must have fallen down 50 times, some on his back, some on his stomach, some that looked like they would hurt, even with all of the equipment he was wearing. And each and every time he popped right back up and kept going, trying as hard as he could to keep up with the big kids.

He was doing it all on his own, it had nothing to do with me, and yet, on some level, it did.

Each time around the ice he would look up to find me in the stands and I would wave. I could barely see his face through the wire cage he wore but I could still make out his smile, ear to ear, with his mouth guard dangling from one lip.

The tears welled up in my eyes and the emotion squeezed my heart like a vice. I didn’t even care if anyone saw the tears. I didn’t even bother to wipe them away.

Because I know now that these moments don’t come very often and they last but a few seconds and then they are gone.

But there, in that rink, in that moment, I felt like a mother.

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