A Zamboni is a truck-like vehicle that melts and mends the ice in a hockey arena. It cleans and levels the rough edges of the ice, leaving a smooth surface.

I shall not soon forget The Great Hockey Weekend of 2012:  Three hockey tournaments, three kids, three round robin games each = nine games MINIMUM in a 48-hour period.  One weekend.  One mom.  To say that I was emotionally distressed about pulling this one off is an understatement.  Its enormity was foretold months ago when my husband announced he was going golfing in Florida, the first weekend in February. “During hockey season?!” I screeched. “Who goes golfing during hockey season?!”

Well, apparently I know one such person.

And so I self-diagnosed myself with a new anxiety disorder known only to hockey moms: confero singularis formido (or fear of the solo tournament weekend).   Look it up!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh God, please don’t let this be another pre-menopausal bitch ranting about how underappreciated she is …”, because it’s not;  I’m saving all that for my book!  Instead, I wish to pay tribute to those who help out in a pinch (or see a stark raving mad woman in serious need of an intervention because it’s truly a fine line).

The hockey family.

The hockey family is the one connected to me and this crazy sport who is outside my immediate family – those I can count on in a pinch. Seeing as this particular pinch was more of a circulation-inhibited, full-on head lock, I needed a hockey miracle of Paul Henderson proportions to get me through. And since my husband failed to come through with a mistress who was willing to help out with the hockey driving, I called in the Reserve.  My Reserve Unit consists of extended family and other hockey parents.

Over Christmas, my mother-in-law lamented that none of my kids had participated in a tournament near their home north of Toronto and she missed seeing them play. Ooooo, the Angel of Hockey Mercy hath rested her wing in the goal crease. “Well, have I got the weekend for you…” my plea began.  The reinforcements, aka my in-laws, were treated to rare grandkid-hockey-fest and able to catch at least one game of each grandchild. It is entirely possible that they would have preferred to do so over a slightly longer stretch of time (i.e. maybe not 5 games in 36 hours next time) but never mind that for now. It is also entirely possible that they would have preferred to eat something other than take-out pizza and copious amounts of coffee but never mind that either. I was grateful for their ‘service’ even if it meant me changing the sheets and towels.

The hockey family.

Hockey moms often refer to other hockey moms as part of their extended family.  Considering how much time you spend with them at arenas, on tournament weekends and various other social events associated with their kids’ sports schedules from August through April, they might as well be kin.  The parents on my kids’ teams come from all walks of life, many of whom have chosen paths on which I wouldn’t dare walk, who wouldn’t dream of walking in my path, and who’ll walk off in different directions after the games and practices and tournaments are over.  But all this past weekend, they walked beside me all the way.  For every single person who offered to help with pick ups and drops offs for my three kids, I am thankful.  And for every single person who asked me how I was holding up this past weekend, I am thankful!  This particular weekend, I am thankful to no less than eight people who drove, fed, or housed my three kids somewhere (or did all three).  Now, one could argue that such assistance is intentional because I am mother to three goalies and the team kinda needs a goalie, but that’s ok; they were still on my side.  God Bless ’em!

A bolt of lightening is about to strike me dead, but when only one of my three teams advanced, I felt some disappointment for them but mostly relief for me; a fact that will likely not endear me to other hockey moms. But we all know my hockey/yoga co-dependency so I was hppy for their eliminations because they permitted my Sunday morning yoga class.  The parting words of my yoga instructor on Sunday morning could not have been better scripted had she been speaking directly to me.  “I hope you will take this feeling of gratitude in having devoted time well spent on yourself and extend it to those around you. Put forth an attitude of gratitude” … and with no bolt of lightening either!  With post-yoga latte in one hand and a basket of dirty laundry in the other, I felt as relaxed as a mom with 90% of her ‘to-do’ list still to do, but feeling gratitude for those who’d help me get through. I looked at the dogs (because they were the only ones still interested in my company) and shared a happy thought, “Hey!  We made it!” which was immediately followed by a not-so-happy thought, “Oh my God, did anyone feed you guys this weekend?!” So sincere thanks to my hockey family for helping me out this weekend and for making my rough ice a little smoother – a Zamboni of my own indeed.

Did you ever look upon a task with so much dread, only to find joy in it through the grace of others?

A word cloud is a graphical representation of word frequency. The word hockey stands out in my word cloud (made courtesy of www.wordl.net ) and a lot of other words scattered around it… like mom, love, writing… (actually kind of surprised that the word chardonnay does not appear there – it’s gotta be there!). So this was the mother of all hockey weekends where hockey, mom, love, and a little writing, once again featured prominently… as they always do in my life.

16 Responses to A Zamboni of my own …

  • If there was ever a case for a sister-wife, this is it. All that chasing around plus all the emotion around it would have worn me plum out. I’ve been trying to recruit some sister wives for years. My husband makes pretty good money and he could afford a couple. One of them at least has to be a cooking, cleaning, laundry doing fiend and love walking big unruly dogs. I would love to find one who would iron my sheets. Okay, yes, I’m getting carried away on the subject of me.

    I’m glad you Hockey Moms have such a strong support system for each other. It makes it all do-able and even fun!

    • Linda, I’m loving the sister-wife term better than mistress. Mistress sounds more like I’ve been replaced whereas sister-wife is merely a complement to our relationship! Good luck finding one who’ll iron your sheets though! It was a crazy weekend and i felt bad that I did not visit much with my in-laws but I think they understood! They also tended to my two big unruly dogs a little more than I did 🙂

  • Absolutely LOVED this! You wrote it beautifully, and you captured EXACTLY what it is to do solo-parenting for a 3-kid-hockey-tournament weekend. I laughed out loud at your condition :confero singularis formido. You are brilliant, funny, and I would absolutely love being in your hockey family…do you have an online version?!?

    • Fortunately I was only solo-parenting this one weekend. I know some, as I’m sure you do too, single parents who do this all the time. I really don’t know how they do it. Thanks for your suppoprt, as always!! This blog is about as online a version as my family gets though I do try to keep it light 🙂

  • Every time I read one of your posts about hockey, two things come to mind ( I am a pathetic extracurricular mom, I mean appalling and you are amazing). I no longer chide myself for my motherly imperfections because I figure I have other attributes. (she hopes). I really do not know how you cope on these weekends. I do hope there is a glass of Chardonnay waiting for you at the end of the day. As for the task.. enjoy, grace.. I can’t honestly say yes. I think the closest thing I have found (since blogging) is the support I have found from other writers, such as yourself. But I can’t say the task of writing is something I dread, because I don’t. What I have found is support quite unexpectedly – which is amazing. I thank all your hockey sisters for being there for you..

    • Yes, finding support through the blogsphere has been an unexpected pleasure for me as well as I continue this journey. One evening I did come home to Chardonnay chilling and a warm fire in the hearth – thanks to Grandad – so I was able to regroup! I love the term hockey sisters – that term and this post has given rise a new book chapter !!

  • Exchange “lacrosse” for “hockey” and I’m there. Totally there. I am glad you found supporters and I think your husband owes you a weekend away where all you do is yoga and drink lattes. And your children? They had better appreciate it.

    • Children *never* appreciate it, do they? Until they have children of their own that is. Thanks Kario! Yes, I think lacrosse moms can earily relate – though that is a year-round sport isn’t it sometimes? That I don’t think I could handle… I like my two months off between spring and regular hockey !!

  • I enjoyed this post. My children were never into team sports. (Well, my son was in team sports twice but dropped out each time). So I never had to go through this, though as a single mom, I do remember all the driving around to Girl Scout meetings, gymnastics (for my daughter) and religious school (for both). It could get quite hectic at times.

    • There is a special place in my heart for single hockey moms. Not sure how they do it financially, physically or emotionally but I know a few really strong women who are hockey moms of a different order. To do it for a weekend, makes for a fun posting; to do it for real all the time, makes for a trying time. You will remember the hectic driving around, but you also helped meet their social needs and that is really important.~A

  • I like the sister-wife idea. The mistress works well too. Work both angles for all they’re worth.

    Once again, funny, funny, funny! Great post! And how did you remember all that? My mind would have gone blank somewhere along the way.

    Today’s – yesterday’s actually, I confess to being behind – NaBloPoMo prompt caused me to write a rather dreary account of life with my family, so this was a great read. Merci!

    • Hello Eloise! Yes, part of the reason for this blog is to capture the moments before they blur… for they do blur quickly! Thanks for stopping by. BTW, my daughter’s initials are EMC which gave rise to her signing stuff as E=MC2, and the nickname Einstein!

      • Capturing moments – totally! I can’t remember last week.

        E=MC2 – yep, I thought of that. Good for her for having the guts to use it. My math skills were never too hot, so I thought I’d better not or I’d suffer a lot of raised eyebrows.

        I replied on my page to your last comment. Question, since I’m still bumbling around with blogs – do you get notified (by selecting one of the options below) or do you just visit my page to see if I’ve replied? Be nice if WordPress indicated if a message got sent.

        Have a great day!

        • No I don’t get notified that you respond to my comment unless I click on the “notify me” box (which I have done but then your Inbox is bound to be inundated with other people’s comments as well (which is fine, but some of the blogs I follow are used to 50-60 comments per posting so I stopped checking off that box!). You’re right – there should be a better mechanism through wordpress for resonses to comments we’ve made. There might be!

  • I just don’t know how you survived, even with the help. Being a hockey mom is obviously not for the faint of heart. Your husband owes you big time girlfriend!

    • Funny, even now the schedule is busy but it seems far less so having survived the Big Weekend… especially now that hubby is home. Yes, I have plans to get away by myself and am going to the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference in April. Hockey season should be over by then, so i can go and enjoy and not feel guilty! Thanks for stopping by!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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