“Hockey mom.” There are two words I never thought I’d use to describe myself. I’m not at all a fan of the professional sport, though I do get very caught up in my kids’ games when I’m there to watch. Truth be told, I don’t feel fully entitled to the moniker, since I am the parental unit who is usually on the home front while my husband is at the rink. Dragging a three-year-old boy along to hockey games is no one’s idea of fun, and I’m not so keen that I want to arrange babysitting to allow my two hockey players to have both parents rinkside. So I’m a proud mother of two hockey players who is very often in the background.
Our house was minus two for the February Family Day long weekend: G and Ted were in Montreal for G’s hockey tournament. There are so many things I once would have resented about the time that hockey takes out of our schedules, the dent it makes in our time as a family of five all in one place at one time.
But, while our little family of five was not together all weekend, G had as spectators for one game his grandfather, who drove five hours to see him, his great aunt, two of my cousins and their families. My father is one of twelve children. We have a sprawling family, and that was four separate branches of the family tree out to watch one kid play hockey and gather for a meal and a chin-wag. I was profoundly humbled that they took time out of their weekends to gather at the rink. Call it “Aren’t We Blessed to Have Such a Wonderful Extended Family?” Day. That G’s team won gold was also news to warm his distant mother’s heart.
As it happened, we five were together for Family Day Monday, but it was a very quiet sort of a day. I wanted textbook Quality Family Time, but I was too tired for orchestrating a perfect memory, and so we drifted into our day, hanging out in pajamas all morning, reading, playing tag at the park, making bread, cooking wholesome soup and unwholesome nachos, playing Lego, and catching up somewhat reluctantly on homework. G worked out how long it would take him to get all of his homework done and then wilted. The crash after the high of a fun-filled weekend. But then he found the solution to a difficult math problem in a fraction of the time he thought it would take and rejoiced, saying, “That felt as good as winning gold!”
And that’s where all of these pieces fall into place for me. G has had to work really, really hard on this select team. Goals, which come fast and furious for him on his school and house league teams, elude him in this group of stronger players. A few days ago, G said to his dad, “I love being on the Select team. Winning is so much more fun when it’s hard.” He is not the star of the team, but he is a fully committed member who works his heart out.
The rewards of being a somewhat reluctant hockey mom are plentiful: seeing him recognize the value of hard-won victory, seeing that spring in his step as he drags his hockey bag along to the next game, seeing him feel part of something bigger than himself. That, surely, is something to celebrate on Family Day.