Sunday, February 28, 2016

Letter to Zachary

Dear Zachary,
First - let me say that I do not mean to embarrass you with this; however, I do believe that it is a mother's prerogative to allow her emotions to overwhelm her at certain points of her life. The opportunity to begin the next chapter of your life as you enter into adult-hood is one of them. It is because this means that my chapter as your mother is going to begin changing as well.  So be patient with me, because if I’m crying while writing this, I will most certainly be crying as you read it.  A mother’s love knows no bounds and neither does her sadness and trepidation as her son moves onto the next phase of his life, without her holding his hand every step of the way.
When you were born, I was scared to death. Until that baby is in your arms, you can’t quite fathom the panic that sets in with all the responsibility looming ahead of you, but at the same time, you experience this unimaginable joy and love.  Unconditional love… from the first look in your eyes and the first time your little fist wrapped around my finger. I was instantly in love with you.  I remember standing for hours by your crib, just looking at you.  I was in awe that such a precious, perfect little baby was mine.  I was so in love that I would just cry sometimes as I held you.  Some nights I would get up just to hold you while you slept.  I felt like I was the luckiest mom alive to have you for my son.
Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade it or give up a second I’ve spent with you, worrying about you, loving you, arguing with you. It’s been 21 years of pure emotion: love, joy, worry, anger, frustration, terror. Sometimes the emotion isn’t even mine, but yours. When you’re excited, happy or, worse, heartbroken, I feel those things, too.  
 Ever since you were born, I worried and wondered about whether or not I was being the best parent I could be. Did I make you feel important? Did we find enough time for the little things that live on in happy memories - like laughter, and hugs, and "just-between-us" moments?  Did I show you enough that you mean the world to me? And, more importantly, did you always know I loved you, even when I was angry at you?  I hope I’ve given you enough and made you feel loved, cherished and important.

Sometimes I just stare at you when you aren’t paying attention… and sometimes you catch me. :)  Why do I do that, you wonder?  There are lots of reasons.  I'm staring because it amazes me that someone as handsome, funny, loving and smart as you ever came out of me.  I think, how did I get so lucky?! 
 I'm staring at you with hope, because I know that you're sensitive and sometimes a clueless, naive kid…and because I know that the world you're moving into can be unpredictable and cruel at times. I just hope that I’ve given you enough ‘tools’ to make it in this world without too much difficulty.  

The biggest reason I'm staring is because I know that our time together is short and growing shorter by the day. The day is coming soon when I'll no longer be a part of your everyday life. There will be work, some girl who steals your heart, some career that keeps you busy. So knowing that my opportunities to teach and influence you will soon slow down to only the occasional Sunday dinners and holidays, makes me sad.
  I find myself frantically wondering if I've covered all the bases, told you all the things I wanted you to know…and wondering, too, if you ever truly listened.  I hope you did.  Ultimately, you are responsible for your own life. It’s a scary concept, isn’t it? Your happiness, your fortune, and your emotional well-being all essentially belong to you to control and steer. 

I know you aren't sure what you want to do with your life yet, but I have no doubts that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s why college was good for you, it allowed you a little more time to figure it out and decide, while still having the safety of your family. It allowed you to ‘find yourself’ in a way working in the world, just won’t.  It allowed you to begin the responsibilities of being an adult, out on your own, for just awhile. 

 Now is the time for you to figure out who you want to become and where you want to go in life. I am nervous for you, but at the same time glowing with pride about the young man that you have grown to be.  

 Follow your dreams. Never give up on something you desperately want. Ever.  I want great things for you.  If I didn't always find a way to say it, I hope I always showed it - I'm proud to be your mother and I love you with my heart and soul.

Happy 21st Birthday My Darling Baby Boy.  I love you…forever.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Super Bowl Party

 Every year we host a Super Bowl party since our boys were youngsters.
This year was extra special because my son, Zachary's favorite team is the Broncos.
 He was confident the entire time that the Bronco's would win!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

The end of the hockey road

This is Brandon's last year of playing hockey.  I was grateful to watch him play at least one more year, for Elizabethtown College.  Next year he is transferring to another college. One that doesn't have a hockey team.  I feel like I am in mourning.  Brandon has played hockey since he was six years old.  To suddenly end, when it seems like yesterday he was learning how to skate, is heartbreaking.

I want every new hockey parent to read this and tuck it away and reread it when their child no longer plays. 

The very first thing Brandon's hockey coach told us was that none of our kids will be going to NHL. Here's a few things he forgot to mention that first year: 

You WILL go to the wrong rink. You will get thrown out of a rink.

There will be times you call another players mother an asshole. You will hear other parents call YOUR child an asshole. There are times you will agree with them. The first time you hear your child curse will be at the rink. It may be the first time you hear his church going grandma curse too. You will be threatened with jail time. You will threaten other people with jail time. You will get in arguments with strangers. That six year old that you called an asshole will STILL be an asshole when you play him again at 16. So will his mother. So will your son. So will you. So is every ref you will EVER meet. Especially when you lose.

You will plan strategies for the championship game after you consumed a six pack. You will be so frustrated after a game that you just may leave your player at a rink in another town. You might even do it on purpose. 

You will think the coach can't coach. You will think you CAN coach. You will believe this even more after a few drinks at the hotel bar. (It doesn't matter that he played D1 hockey, YOU have watched thousands of games.) 

You will spend more money on one stick than your current car payment.  

Your child will play with an ear infection, he will play with strep throat and he will play with 102 fever. Heck, he probably got it from a teammate . Illness spreads through a hockey team quicker than a line change. 

There will NEVER be a reason your player deserved that penalty. You will defend your son to referees, coaches, other parents but mostly to hotel security in other states. Your entire house including your back porch and garage will be decorated with hockey gear 12 months out of the year, not just during hockey season. 

You will share hotel rooms, car rides and every childhood illness. Your player will miss more school then all of your other children combined. Most of those "sick" days will be tournament Fridays. When the Elementary school principal smiles smugly on a Monday morning and asks your child how he's feeling it's because he KNOWS you were in New York on Friday for a game. 

Most weekends you will wake up with six or more players sleeping in your living room. You will know these players by number and birth year, not always by name. That mom you called an asshole just might end up as the manager on your team the following season and her asshole son will be one of the numbers asleep on your living room floor. 

You will refer to 7 AM as midday. You will laugh and happily pay the 90 registration fee you used to complain about for little league. You will try to convince your hockey player to go out for little league. You will quickly realize the Stanley Cup isn't the most important cup. 

You won't realize how fast the time is going, you won't appreciate it and you will miss it. No your child is NOT going to the NHL. He probably won't even play D1. (Thank God for men's league.) But he will learn how to lace up his own skates and in the end, those tiny little skates will be bigger than a squirt parent's ego after a championship win. And that coach, the one who you swore couldn't coach and offended you by saying your little cherub wasn't going to the NHL, you'll want to thank him. Thank him for his time, his talent and for his help in turning your son into a man.