I had no idea how I was going do it. Ever since last spring, my eldest son, age 8, had gone on and on about how badly he wanted to play hockey this season. REAL hockey. Cause up till then it had always just been me, him, and some friends shooting the puck on an outdoor pond.
As a mom, I, of course, wanted to make it happen for him. Plus, I think that every Canadian boy should have the chance to play hockey!
But two huge factors stood in my way. One, I was totally broke. My ex lost his job last spring and chose to work 32 hours a week making minum wage. All my spousal support stopped, and child support didn’t cover half my mortgage. Organized hockey would cost what – $1000 with equipment and all?
Secondly, even I found the money, was I prepared to make his siblings’ lives all about sitting in a rink? Cause as a divorced mom, I didn’t have someone to help with the 6 a.m. practices, games all over the city, not to mention tournaments and mandatory volunteer work.
This past summer, however, I heard about a city-run hockey program that was all about having fun and improving skating skills. Basically, under the guidance of two coaches, the kids would be divided into two teams and spend an hour playing hockey. AND it was a tenth of the cost!
With the help of family and friends, we were able to scrounge up second-hand gear. I pinched and saved my pennies so I could pay for the session. My son, in the meantime, kept track of The Big Day on the calendar. He was FINALLY going to be a REAL hockey player.
The night before his first ‘game’, however, he asked me who his team was playing the next day; he didn’t seem to ‘get’ that this was a fun league only, not like the serious ones his friends were all apart of. When I explained it to him again, he ended up in tears. I was devastated! I went to bed that night with a knotted stomach. “PLEASE God, I prayed, “Let this be a great experience for my son!”
At the end of his session on the ice, as he skated towards the boards, my stomach sank: his face did not look happy. “It wasn’t he’d hoped for,” I grimaced. “I’ve let him down.”
Down in the dressing room, I walked in expecting the worse. Suddenly, I heard: “Oh my gosh Mom. That was SO awesome! But I am so hot and sweaty! Can you please help me get my jersey off?”
I almost shook with relief. And as we took off his skates, my relief turned into elation as he rattled on and on about how great the game was, not just to me, but to his fellow-players. I beamed at the ‘locker room scene’ going down. Such an important part of the ‘team’ thing. Already he was bonding with and making new friends.
We went out for a special lunch afterwards. In all honesty, I thought it would be a ‘compensation lunch’, instead of the celebratory one I’d framed it to be. But my son’s smile never left his face. He held my hand. He hugged me many times. He sat on my lap. He offered me his popcorn chicken. He thanked me about twenty times throughout the day for making his dream come true.
No folks – my son ain’t playing for the big leagues. But on this day, this here mom and her son truly couldn’t have felt more like shining stars.
Delaine – www.iamdivorcednotdead.com
Not Looking For Love