Even though our local hockey association has an enrolment of over 500 minor hockey players, they do not run a girls-only hockey development program.  This, despite the fact that Hockey Canada confirms enrolment for young girls is on the rise while, enrolment for boys is stagnant.  So my daughter is registered with a neighbouring community that does offer girls hockey.  This much larger neighbouring community runs an excellent girls hockey association that operates over 40 teams (some recreational, some competitive) and so develops over 700 girls in the sport of hockey.

But my daughter’s hockey association does not accept friend requests.  Not “friend requests” a la Facebook lexicon, but rather the registrar of the association will not entertain requests for organizing friends on the same team.  It’s a strict policy so I’m not sure how my friend and neighbour who lives just down the street managed it, but her daughter and my daughter (also friends … very convenient) have been on the same team for two straight seasons now.  If my friend told me she had to sleep with the president of the association to make it happen, I’d believe her, and support her.  I’d take one for the team too if it meant our girls got on the same team roster again.  The truth is, I guess she knows the right people, and this is critical … because it means we can carpool.

We take turns with most practices but particularly with those early morning practices (sometimes our husbands even take them), and as an added benefit we let the girls have a sleepover so only one hockey mom’s sleep is disturbed by that early morning buzzer alarm.  You may think I’ve inhaled a little too many zamboni fumes, but once in a while, those early morning hockey practices are actually not so bad.

Sunrise over farm (not my farm), SMN via Flicker

As I rose at 0600 this past Sunday morning, I patted myself on the back for getting to bed early on a Saturday night (true, I have no life, so there weren’t too many alternatives), and able to accomplish this without hitting the snooze bar.  In doing so, I also managed to successfully avert the Sunday morning nookie my husband was counting on (though probably not at 0600).

I gently woke the girls, quietly reminded them of our hockey practice and that we had to be in the car in twenty minutes, shut the boys’ bedroom door for fear of another giggle fest, and moved along to the kitchen to fix their breakfast.  I filled my trusty travel mug with deliciously fresh coffee, while they quietly finished their toast and OJ and then gathered their gear and headed to the car.  No arguing, no whining, no complaining.  They were both surprisingly and uncharacteristically accommodating.  What do they call this again?  Maturity?  I like it!   The car was almost as quiet as was the breakfast, save for the radio trying to snap us all out of our respective reveries.  I drove north, then east, and watched the sun peak out over the farm fields.  It was gorgeous.  “This is not so bad “, I thought and started to consider a few other positive attributes of these early mornings:

  • I get to zip along an almost-deserted highway; one that is otherwise usually clogged and polluted with commuters. I imagine every other driver is either heading off to work or heading off to hockey, just like me with their coffee mugs close at hand.
  • My passengers are stone cold silent – a far cry from their giggly 11-year old pre-bedtime selves the night before.  No one complains about my music selections, either (rare. very rare).
  • I can take pleasure in noting that the days are getting longer:  the sun is already peaking out at 630am.
  • There is ample parking in the garage at the university athletic facility where the practice is being held.  It certainly won’t be like this later on today.
  • Few parents are overly social at this hour so I get an entire hours’ worth of uninterrupted reading and writing before I hear the beep! beep! of the Zamboni shooing the skaters off the ice and beckoning me back to my Den Mom duties in the dressing room.
  • While I do  provide transportation, I do not have to go out there on the ice.  I can sit here and read, write and drink my lovely, fresh coffee.  There are five Dads out there right now and 16 eleven and twelve year olds who are not.

Goalie Girl

Now, with an hour’s worth of exercise behind them, the girls were chippier and chattier and the spirit that I associate with a girls hockey team dressing room had resumed.  They nattered on about their big plans for the day and week ahead, their hair, their clothes … MY clothes even.  Everything was back to normal and I felt a headache coming on.

We returned home shortly after 9am on this hockey morning, just as my husband was finishing up his breakfast and teenage boys were still not conscious.  I know that soon my daughter will be among those longing to sleep in on weekends.  When my three were still babies, a neighbour of mine with teenagers grumbled that at least I still had my evenings.  She, with teenagers, went to bed hours before them, leaving them to turn off the lights, the TV and to lock the doors.  This was certainly true at the time.  When all were nestled in their beds, I usually had some part of the evening to myself.  I can now sense my time zones shifting as well, just as my neighbour predicted.  However, though I may not have evenings to myself any longer, the mornings will all soon be mine again.  If I can meet these mornings with the same heart that which this morning was greeted, then I won’t complain for any lack of “me” time.  It will be there … just during a different time slot.

If this past Sunday morning early practice is any indication, I am ready to multi-task:  to rise AND shine!

* Just to be clear lest my daughter is expelled from her association:  I’m entirely certain my friend did not have to sleep with the president of the association.

Do you rise and shine or prefer the midnight oil?

22 Responses to Fine. I'll rise, but I won't shine…

  • I’m a rise-and-shine type. I have to say, though, that qualification is needed – I don’t have to usher kids into vehicles, with appropriate gear, and drive. Nor do I need to serve anyone in some useful capacity. I feed the cats and crawl into a chair on the porch with computer and thermos of coffee. I am not required to communicate or even appear in the least sentient.

    If I were in your shoes, I can definitely see hitting the snooze bar.

    But the important thing here is the ability to carve “me time” out of life’s shifting schedules and to adapt and find advantages. The hour for writing. And the other perks – quiet road, snoozing kids, finding parking.

    Makes you feel like you can handle whatever gets thrown at you!

    • Thank you Eloise – there are days when I DO feel like I can handle whatever gets thrown at me. Then of course there are the “other days”!! I guess I was feeling pretty chipper this past weekend despite the early morning practice, knowing that it couldn’t come close to the Hockey Weekend from Hell the weekend before. The porch, thermos of coffee and computer? Sounds like a good office. That’s my plan for Family Day morning morning!

  • I love the early rise thing in theory, and yes, when I can do it, I love it but there are just some of us that can’t get it together before 8! Of course the rugrats don’t give you much a choice. It sounds like you really enjoyed it and can now make time for your ‘me’. Nice post to read first thing in the morning… which was 8:30a for me!

    • Well make no mistake, Dani; I’m pretty sure 0600 is not my body’s normal waking hour … but I have always been a early riser. Thanks for commenting!

  • Lovely post with my cooling coffee. I’m with ya’ sista’. There is something serene and beautiful about the obligatory morning skates. There are the nighttime outdoor ones too that awaken something in me that I didn’t even know existed. Maybe this is what it is that ties the hockey community into one tightly knit unit. We all know what it means to say we parent hockey players…and we all laugh at the subtle hint that your friend had to “get in bed” with management to assure you a carpool buddy! Too true, friend! Now my coffee is legitimately cold, and I need to go freshen. Have a great rest of your week!

    • I have not been to an evening outdoor skate in a number of years and the Rideau Canal skateway here is in rough shape this year because of the mild winter 🙁
      We’re a tightly knit unit for sure, this hockey crowd. I was thankful for the help during my Hockey Weekend from Hell last weekend and was trying to pay a little back this past weekend by leading the carpool!
      Enjoy your weekend as well!

  • As a former skating Mom, I hear ya! I rose when the sun didn’t shine and neither did I for more years than I want to count. The one thing I noticed about this was that as the kids were becoming superfit, we as parents were less fit since we spent our time driving them everywhere and sitting around watching, waiting. etc.


    • It’s sooooo true about sitting, watching, waiting, drinking coffee, eating canteen fries (oops, TMI). I used to drop the kids off for practice and then go running myself, but now have turned into such a ‘fair-weather-only’ runner that I wait for spring to return! Instead I go shopping now for more food 🙂

  • The way you describe the morning is so charming. But I’m a firm believer that 9 AM is the only sensible time to rise. I used to have a very high energy level early in the day, and I would slump as the evening approached. Now I still slump in the evening and stay in bed until 9 in the morning just about every day. In my defense, I read that most people die early in the morning and by staying in bed till 9, I’m less concerned of dying on the kitchen floor with coffee spilled all around me. In bed, in my lacy nightgown, looking cute is fine. The kitchen floor, not so much.

    • Linda, your reason for staying in bed until 9a and avoiding that potentially messy death scene is hysterical! Thanks for offering up your persepctive (and the visual – you are too much!)!!!

  • I am fickle. If I don’t have to get up to rally kids and pack lunches and corral carpools, I’m more than happy to get up early, sip my coffee and read blogs in the quiet before anyone else stirs. But if I’m setting my alarm merely to rouse children and hubs and get them all ready for their days, I’m more likely to groan and wish I could sleep another hour.

    Good luck with your daughter. My twelve-year-old is beginning to discover the joy of sleeping past 8AM, although she loves school and her friends, so at least during the week she doesn’t grumble.

    • Since school comprises much of their social lives, my kids too do not grumble (too much) about getting up and getting to the bus stop. My 14-year old, though, consistently gets out of bed 10 minutes before he has to head out the door. It drive me crazy. The stress of missing the bus is completely lost on him but makes my blood boil…

  • I am an evening person all the way as are my four children. It’s definitely in the genes. Once in a while I have embraced a beautiful early morning, one forgets how beautiful it really is, but inevitably return to my through the night routine. Kudos to you for being such an amazing mother!

    • Thank you Elizabeth – not sure if I am an amazing mother but I am a mother, and I do what needs to be done 🙂
      I think it’s neat that your kids take after you in the gene body clock! You too are an amazing mother !!

  • Astra, I’m a night owl so my hat comes off to you for pulling off this morning rituals with such aplomb and grace. I know I would be grumpy, groggy, and just as silent as the girls if I had to get up at that ungodly hour. The Significant Other is a morning person. Me? I say don’t wake me before the sun is completely out and don’t talk to me until I’ve had at least two cups of coffee! 🙂

    • Yes Bella, I think I recall some of your postings of the wee hours and certainly know you’re mad for mocha! Mmmmm, I could share one with you right now on this dreary winter afternoon.
      I can assure you, though, that not all early hockey mornings are met with grace!!

  • I go both ways, burning the candle at both ends. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve been staying up into the wee hours, but because of my dog and the need to take him walking early in the morning, I wake up at the crack of dawn. It’s the only way to get any work done. 😉

    • Darn those dogs! I have 2 and it seems the later I get to bed, the earlier they whine in the morning. Naturally I’m the only one who’s awakened by it.
      I am in, then out, then back in and back out of the habit of waking at dawn to write. Hence the WIP is still a WIP… Knowing you do so, and you work as well, provides me with great inspiration. Thanks for stopping by, Monica!
      I loved yours and Bella’s story-line-co-posts btw!! Wonderful idea.

  • I love that you added that little disclaimer there at the end. LOL! If I weren’t such a terrible morning person, that scenario would sound nice. In all honesty, early, peaceful mornings are nice. It’s the exhaustion that hits mid-day after getting up so early that gets me. So glad you found the positives in your early morning task. May you have many of the same to come!

    • Yes Laura, the mid-day exhaustion is a killer (not sure why kids don’t get it?). Pretty embarassing now when I can’t stay up past 11pm on a Saturday night 🙁

  • I don’t have any hard and fast rules (if we are talking about writing) because my life is not as predicable as should be ( or the muse is less reliable if I plan on his visits). I write at any hour of the day, assuming there are no distractions, like hungry mouths to feed. I write between meetings at work assuming I have dead time on my hands. In the morning and late at night. In general, I am not worth much after midnight. I’ll stay up late to watch movies ( another passion). Processing power is best before 10 PM and after my first cup of joe. Since I took up writing I’ve altered much .. any issues I had before or self-cured to allow for writing and appearances in life.

    • My mental capacity past 10pm is pretty pathetic too and I do find the mornings are best. I have that 3pm dead-zone where everything before my eyes kind of get blurry. I have heard that the human body never outgrows its need for an afternoon nap and I wonder if this might actually be true (seems it’s just our North American society that does not embrace a siesta!)?! Thanks for reading!

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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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