Up until this year, there has always been a clear and distinct division of hockey labour in our house. The early morning Initiation practices were handled by me, as I was the morning person between HockeyDad and I. As a family, we attended all hockey games. Most afternoon practices were decided by a coin flip. Ok, not really. Afternoon practices have always been kind of up in the air. More often than not, I would take whoever was playing and the others would stay at home with HockeyDad. It gave us all a break.
But two weeks into this hockey season and I’m realizing that our old system just isn’t going to cut it. The difference is that two of the three are out of Initiation level. They are playing games, and their practices aren’t at standard times. I know that each week, Boy #3 will have practice on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon.
For example, just a few weeks ago:
-Boy #2 and Boy #3 had hockey practice at the same time, in two different rinks.
-Boy #2 had to go straight from hockey to a birthday party in another part of town. The party ended at three.
-Boy #1 had a game that started at 3:00 in a rink close to home, which means that one of us either had to miss the game, or we had to find another way for Boy #2 to get home from his party. Thanks to a brother who is willing to step in at any time and a fellow hockey family, I had options. The other hockey family was also at the birthday party, so Boy #2 was driven to the rink for us. Thank goodness for friends who get it.
– Boy #1 had a birthday party to go to straight from his hockey game. Pick up was at 7:30.
The weekend before last was just as ridiculous…though with fewer birthday parties. Last weekend we had a break, if you can call it that, and attended two weddings, had one boy at Scout’s fall camping and took one boy to his Sunday practice. Oh and we did a local run on Saturday morning. Boy #1 spent all day Sunday with friends who could take him to his mid-afternoon hockey practice.
Here’s the thing, I can’t be in two places at once, let alone three. And as the boys get older and more active with sports and their friends, I’m finding myself relying on my tribe to help me, again and again. This is not something that sits well with me. In fact, sometimes, that bothers me. I want to be able to do it all, and HockeyDad and I are the ones that brought these kids into the world. We should be the ones doing the running around.
Up until this year, we have been able to handle all three hockey schedules. And because I want to, I handle the bulk of it. I have been able to take them to the rink. I have been in the stands for all but a handful of practices and games. This year, it is just not possible.
And so, with like everything parenting related, I take another step towards letting go. This year, I need to let go of that piece of me that watches every game, every practice. This year, I need to accept that there are going to be larger and larger pieces of their lives that I only get to hear about after the fact. This is the season where I rely on friends, and parents of friends to help me get one boy or another to a rink, or home from a rink. And where I thank those friends and parents of friends over and over for the help. This is the season where I have to rely on pictures and videos that HockeyDad takes of one player while I’m at a rink with another.
There is a small part of me that isn’t ready to miss those games and practices.
And every parent I know will agree with me that this is not about me and when I’m ready. It’s about them. And they are ready.
See you at the rink.