Friday, October 31, 2014

From Awkward to Awesome: One Hockey Mom's Journey

Every parent of small children can testify that going anywhere alone feels like a holiday. Life becomes slow motion. You don’t have to be alert at every second. You notice your surroundings more. You feel like you are expending 20 times less energy. Of course, if you are like me, you may be missing your little mischief-makers while simultaneously enjoying the benefits.

But lately it’s getting easier. My boys are 7, 5, and 3, and each year, parenting feels less intense. Whether at the grocery store or the play park, I notice the change.

This year I marvel at my transformation in the hockey dressing room.

Rewind two years. My oldest son is doing his first ever hockey camp. There is a new maturity about him. He feels it too. Mostly he doesn't need my help. Although, getting ready for ice time is one exception.

The dressing room is a nightmarish rite of passage for me. It is incredibly hot. I could almost close my eyes and imagine I just stepped off the plane in Cuba, except the air smells like musty, sweaty hockey equipment.

I help Hunter locate his bag in the ever busier room. We open the zipper, and I take a moment to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of equipment pieces. What do I put on first? What if I miss something essential and then have to take if all off and begin over again?

I decide to copy the others. I look around. The other boys are already half dressed...half dressed! How did they do that? I hear some mothers mutter something about getting done before the older boys come charging in. I am totally starting to sweat. "Ok. Let's start with the protective shorts."

Somehow I manage to get him mostly dressed despite my one year old's continual attempts to get at the urinal, my three year old's demands that I peel his banana, and the onslaught of the "older boys" coming off their ice session. In the back of my mind it's starting to register that my littlest is crawling around on the floor amidst a bunch of boys in skates.

Fast Forward to last Friday. I head to the rink with all three boys. I carry nothing but my purse. My 7 year old mostly gets himself dressed. I quickly throw some equipment on my 5 year old while my 3 year old entertains himself quietly.

We watch the game, I visit with some parents, it is kind of...enjoyable.

I have moments of sadness because my babies are growing up, but this new stage has its perks. Now--due to no credit of my own--I can leave the dressing room feeling calm and smug at my adeptness with a shin pad.