We are a hockey family. We love the sport and naturally our kids would love it too right? My 1st day helping my son lace up his skates did not play out how I had imagined this special day would go, and that's ok!
My husband and I both played hockey our entire lives and when we talked about having kids we naturally decided that they would play too. We understood that they may not like it and that's ok, but they needed to try and give it a good shot. Neither of us liked it when we started so we knew that the first couple of tries might not go as planned and that's ok.
We bought our son all of his equipment, we molded his mouth guard, taped his stick and introduced him to the world of wearing a jock...he thought this was hilarious. We took the obligatory "1st day of hockey" pictures and headed to the rink.
We were met by smiling faces, excited boys and girls and their parents. I was so excited to start my journey as a hockey mom. Today was the day! The day I had been waiting for, I get to watch my son with so much pride glide in to the game I love.
As each piece of equipment went on I could see his nerves growing stronger and stronger and we tried to keep the excitement up and not let the nerves get the best of him. We had done skating lessons, he knew how to skate... kind of and we had played countless games of road hockey. Hes got this we thought!
We headed out of the dressing room on to the bench and he stepped foot on the ice. He was proud! He slowly skated away. I was beaming. I was so incredibly proud. Our dreams were finally a reality.
I looked around at the other boys and girls who were whizzing by, had all the confidence in the world and had clearly done this before. My son noticed this at the same time and the look on his face turned from pride to terrified in a split second.
We cheered him on to pump him up and encourage him to keep going. Then it happened. He fell. He couldn't get up. My heart sank. He had done this many times before but never in equipment. His eyes welled up, mine did to. I turned away to compose myself. I had an instant flash back to my first days of hockey and how terrified I had felt. When I turned back around he had made it up on his feet. He was in tears, searching for someone to help him. I knew right away that this was not the level for him to play. I knew that if I didn't get him off the ice in the next minute that we might never get him back out there. He would be scarred and would never want to try again. That was certainly not how I wanted him to feel about hockey.
I made my way through the crowd of proud parents to scoop my tired, frustrated little guy off the ground. The tears were falling down his cheek and although my heart was broken for him knowing the feelings he was experiencing, I smiled and told him how proud I was of him. I needed to make this moment ok.
I could feel the eyes on me from other parents, at this point I didn't care, to be honest I don't think they did either I think some of them felt badly for my little guy. I walked him to the dressing room not knowing if I made the right decision, did I do more damage? Should he have stuck it out? My gut said no.
I never want to push my kids to do something they aren't comfortable with even if its something I want them to do because its what I did. We want to be a hockey family but we have come to realization we may not be and that's ok!
All I ever want is my kid to to be happy. When we got to the car, he WAS happy. We talked about him trying again at a lower level and guess what... hes excited to try again!
The moments leading up to scooping him off the ice I was sad, crushed, frustrated and unsure of what to do, but my mama bear instincts took over and I am proud of my son and I am proud of myself for advocating for him and realizing that this was not the right space for him to be in at that time. There were slight feelings of embarrassment that I quickly shrugged off because my son is amazing and if hockey is not the sport for him that's ok and I am fine with being whatever mom he needs me to be as long as he is happy.
My 1st day as a hockey mom did not go as I planned. It went better and I learned more that day then I have in a long time about myself and my son and nothing makes me more proud!