My darling second born,
You didn’t go into hockey knowing where you belong. It took three years of Initiation level and another two of Novice before you donned the goalie gear and everything clicked. For the record, during Initiation, you refused any offer of play goalie for a game. And I wasn’t going to push you on it, because I know what the position demands. Like your mom, you have to come around to things on your own steam. Once you decided that you were going to try it, I don’t know why I thought I could ever keep you out of the nets. You have paved your own path through this world for your entire 9 years and you will continue to do so.
You and I, we’ve had quite the ride in those 9 short years, kid. We got through appendicitis together. I was 18 weeks pregnant with you when my appendix decided that it was going to try to rupture. That was pretty scary. After you were born, the four months of colic that plagued you and I? There were a lot of tears on both of our parts but we got through that too. This goalie thing is minor in comparison. We’ll rock this goalie thing too, I have no doubt.
Thing is, your momma isn’t very good at being a goalie mom just yet. And up until now, your older brother has always been the guinea pig for all the milestones. But he’s a defense player through and through. And your blood runs goalie. So bear with me. Have some patience while I try to figure out how to tie those mind boggling shin pads. No, sorry, that’s not the right word, goalie pads. I’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out. When I’m fretting and hovering too much, take a breath and remember that my number one job as goalie mom is to be your cheerleader.
Know that I am so proud of you when you take your place between those pipes. It is hell on your mother to watch you face down breakaways. Sometimes I can’t bear watching yet another kid race towards you with the puck. But you do it. You face them down and you either save it or you don’t. Know that you are teaching me valuable life lessons with each attempt. Regardless of the outcome, you shake it off and prepare for the next. The way you shrug off a blow out game is something I learn from. You don’t let a loss get into your heart. That’s one thing I need more of in my life.
I will cheer you on with everything I have. I will give you every thumbs up and every bit of encouragement I can for as long as you decide to be a goalie. Because, a funny thing happened at some point over the course of this season. For the first time in 6 years of hockey, you take the ice with joy. You shine when you take your place on the ice these days. You skate to that net knowing that it is yours to protect. The guts that it takes to own that position is not something I would expect a kid to take on. It’s a lot of responsibility. But you do it and you do it well.
Even knowing this, I will also spend almost every minute of every game in a state of ever increasing anxiety watching the clock tick down. Your games are some of the longest minutes of my life and often take every bit of positivity and focus I can muster. But there’s nowhere I would rather be.
You’ve never taken the easy road, my boy. And there is nothing wrong with it at all. Pave your own way.
I’m told that there are some really cool milestones ahead of us. I wish I could say that I’ll get them on video, but you and I both know that’s your dad’s strong suit. For all your goalie firsts, I will store them in that place in my heart I’ve stored all your others. I feel that same sense of pride with your first shut out that I did when your older brother got his first assist. You celebrating with your team that day is burned into my brain in a way that I know it will never fade.
(For the record, November 30, 2019).
Your milestones will be different but every bit as important to me.
Nothing new there, my middle boy. You have always marched to your own drum.
I’m so happy I get to watch the show.