I can’t lie.
I admit I was pretty excited when, in the spring of 2012, my two sons decided to hang up their goalie pads. After their ten year-long careers, they retired from minor hockey to live off non-existent product endorsements and mom’s cooking. With the boys no longer playing hockey and my daughter’s hockey association’s decision to play only inter-association only, my hockey travel was dramatically reduced. I estimated that I added ten to twelve hours of free time to my week. I marveled at the hours that lay before me and often remarked out loud: “So this is what it ‘Saturday’ feels like! I like it!” I certainly did not miss driving to every God-forsaken rural community centre within a 100km radius of Ottawa in the dead of winter, that’s for sure.
You would think that with all this free time I would no longer have expired dairy products in my refrigerator.
You would be wrong.
My free time has been consumed otherwise. I perfected the art of social media-induced procrastination. I discovered the second cup of coffee. I made a friend who was not a hockey mom. I watched a whole movie without pausing and stayed up past midnight at least twice. Life was decadent.
But my hedonism was brief. Late in the summer, after a year off hockey, my eldest son declared that he would like to play for one more season before heading off to university in the fall of 2014 (God willing). He returned to the arena for try-outs and was successful at reclaiming a spot as goalie for the major midget competitive B team on which he’s played for most of the past seven years.
You know what this means, don’t you? I have to polish my goalie mask pendant. I have to up my heart meds. I have to find little evergreen tree car air fresheners. And I have to buy new winter tires for I am returning to every God-forsaken rural community centre once again.
But you know what? As I walked into the first exhibition game I was welcomed once again by more than the familiar scent of canteen coffee and stale sweat. I was acknowledged by other hockey parents who’d not quite yet forgotten me. Though they didn’t quite raise their mugs and shout “Astra!” in unison, they instead uttered a collective groan that could only mean “Oh God! Not her again!” That’s okay. Sometimes it really is nice to go where everyone knows your name (and your favourite post-game beverage), and they’re always glad you came (but only put up with you because you brought the goalie). In case you’ve missed my hockey mom posts, know that there are more to come …