Thursday, April 14, 2011

Death, Taxes, and Ice Hockey

For the most part, my husband has handed me the reigns of sport and activity selection for our three sons.  Yet about a year ago, he walked in with a receipt and a huge smile.  He had just registered Danny and Jack for ice hockey.  I was mortified.

"They'll have no teeth!" I insisted.

"You have them in piano, chess, and violin.  They'll have no friends."

After some lively discussion on the matter, I realized my husband was right.  Just as I had always wanted to play the piano, but couldn't due to a large family size, my husband had always wanted to pursue hockey.  These were both gifts and opportunities we could now make possible for our own children.

Yet what I didn't realize was the chaos that would ensue at the very first session.  My husband, the catalyst behind this activity, was conveniently working a 24-hour shift at the firehouse.  I had never put on a pair of ice skates in my life (being a 6 footer with a high center of gravity and limited athleticism).  But how hard could it be?

That first set of skates was like one of Dante's circles of hell.  Just when I thought I had the right combination of pulled and loosened strings, I would realize I had missed a step.  The string of profanities falling from my mouth like rain paled in comparison to the horrified looks I was getting from parents as I bumbled, yelled, and cursed my way through child #1.  By the time I got to child #2 (Jack), the fear and apprehension in Jack's face was obvious - mommy was losing it.  Child #3 (Joey) was MIA and took a half hour to reclaim as some parents had found him in the girl's bathroom eating a cookie he'd found on the floor.

After I deposited the boys onto the ice, I took note of all the doting parents around me.  For this first session, moms and dads with cameras in hand locked arms and wiped away tears of pride at the generational passing of this family sport.  Grandparents graciously repacked shoes and coats in shiny new hockey bags embroidered with the family crest.  I had a large paper bag from Food for Less and Danny would eventually walk out of the ice arena short one shoe (I still blame Joey).

So tonight, the boys have hockey yet again.  And yet again, my husband is at the firehouse.  And all those parents who used to cringe when I walked in (while covering their children's ears) now send their husbands over to lace the boys' skates.  Nothing need be said.  I will never be a hockey mom.  But I'm still a mom.

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