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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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