This week we took another big step towards settling in to a regular routine. Hockey!
Wednesday afternoon we headed over to the one ice rink in town to join in on the practice. There’s a fair sized hockey community here, enough for 2 tiers of players at each age group. Any thought of bringing a certain level of Canadian skill to show ’em how it’s done was quickly quashed…these kids can play hockey! Their practices are serious business, loads of pretty awesome drills. Safe to say we were eating a bit of humble pie…
Despite hockey being our lifeline in the winter, all new experiences here are met with extreme trepidation and anxiety. Poor kids, one experience after the other where we throw them way, way outside of their comfort zone. They repeatedly find themselves in that horrible scenario of being pointed at, whispered about, stared at by all the other kids around them. Man do I ever feel for them. But I also now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my kids will respond with compassion to every new kid who crosses their path in the future,knowing just how hard it is to walk in those shoes. Understanding really is at the heart of kindness.
Unfortunately, I don’t always present as a kind, caring mother. We Johnson girls have this awkward tendency to laugh as a stress response. It sneaks up on you at the most inopportune moments ever. Like that time when Diego was in kindergarten and he broke his nose by smashing his face into a concrete barrier…in the waiting room at the Children’s Hospital I kept busting out laughing every time another sweet parent enquired about what happened and I was in constant stifled giggles every time a doctor or nurse came near us. Total red-flag on our file…”mother is a whack-job”.
And so, rather than being sweet and consoling to my children while they sat in the spotlight, being sized up by every other kid and parent in the place, I laugh at them. And like all inappropriate laughter, the harder you fight it, the worse it gets. Quite sure the other hockey parents assume that I’m a day-drinker; which I kind of am these days so I guess that’s ok…
Jury is still out on hockey. H didn’t love it enough to justify the crazy schedule and fees. She’ll most likely opt out which would be a bit of a relief to be honest. D on the other hand will hopefully see it through. The skill development he could gain this year could be quite fantastic, not to mention the amazing feeling of being a part of a team. Next ice time is 6:00am, before school. Whose idea was this!?
While feeling guilty about how much we have deep-ended our kids this year, the wonderful side effect is that it has stalled, even reversed time somewhat. Gone are the days of D being too cool to have me kiss him at the door as I drop him off for school. Even at the rink, when no other Mom’s were in the dressing room, he was quite happy to have me there, helping him with his gear. I even got to help 2 other sweet boys with their laces who were smart enough to know that a mom will always be happy to help. (I, on the other hand, couldn’t get out of the dressing room fast enough. Group showers weren’t part of our Canadian hockey experience so I was a little caught off guard when all the players were suddenly naked!)
Knowing that the years when they really need us will be gone before we know it, gaining one more year when I can walk them to school, holding their hand, feels like a pretty special gift.
And yet at the same time, this year is forcing our two to grow up in a way they hadn’t anticipated. The independence they have gained has been marvellous to watch as well. After Helena’s hockey practice was done, not wanting to wait for D’s, we gave her the house key, put her on the bus and said “See you at home.” She was happy as a clam at this newly earned trust and respect, even though we all knew full well that the chocolate stash in the house would be depleted considerably…
So another milestone reached. We’re hoping that D will find a groove with this hockey team and that we can find something for Helena that she’ll equally love.
And before hockey threatens to take over our lives completely, we are enjoying quiet evening walks in our hood.
Somehow we’ve made it to another Friday. Thank heavens. And I have another coffee date with my husband. Thought we’d checkout the big farmers market and give this coffee truck a go in the morning.