Well, that’s it. My kids’ minor hockey seasons are over for another year. I realize I’ve done a lot of whining over the past thirteen years about how crazy our hockey schedule can be. Not this year, though. This year was different.
This year my son Connor had a valid driver’s license and could drive himself to his hockey games and practices. Yes, that achievement calls for bolding and italicizing. It’s the pinnacle of hockey parenting. It’s kind of like that first time your kids were old enough to be left at home without a babysitter, only better because this time they’re old enough to go out by themselves and you’re the one being left at home by yourself (where the heaters actually work).
At first I was a little nervous about his driving alone especially at night and in this crazy never winter we’ve had. I quickly realized I’d died and gone to heaven (also known as the section of the stands where the heaters actually work). I did not even have to leave the house. I could put on my comfy pants, bunny slipper and pour myself a glass of pinot grigio.
Of course, I did go to as many games as possible (and not always in my comfy pants, bunny slippers and with my glass of pinto grigio). I haven’t been a hockey mom for thirteen years just because I like canteen coffee. I actually do enjoy a good hockey game and my kids have always made me proud.
But the pressure was off me – kind of like having a two-goal lead when we’re not even the Home team.
But as we all know, a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. Just as quickly as my chauffeuring him to the arena had come to a screeching halt, so did my son’s minor hockey season. He’s eighteen now, and graduating high school this year and (likely) off to university in the fall with its dorm living, intramural hockey and all those other experiences that I will no longer hear about on a daily basis.
When the 2014-2015 hockey season rolls around in five months, I’ll be down to one hockey player in this family. And though my car still bears all the badges of a hockey mom that shuttled three kids around to various practices, games, hotels and tournaments (like stray water bottles and few French fries from 2009 languishing under the car seats), it’ll undoubtedly be a quieter season. Less skates to sharpen and less hockey bags to trip over in the garage.
I still probably have about four years of girls’ hockey ahead of me, so it’s far too early for ‘end of an era’ drivel.
But it is the end of an era … the end of my son’s thirteen year minor hockey odyssey. That makes him that much closer to being a man than being a Timbit, and much closer to beer league play, than minor league play.
And that makes me snivel just a little. I may have to go drown my empty-rink sorrows at the local pub.
Oh but wait … he can drive me!
And just like that … all is good in the world again.