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.
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.
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?