Thursday, April 22, 2010

Counting the days....

So we are now past the 1 Month marker regarding the countdown to The Royal Wedding - Part II.
Plans are made, dressings are being fitted, lists have been prepared - along with, ironically enough, a speech from yours truly.

When you plan one of the biggest days of your life, you can't foresee the issues that can arise. You hope for good weather, pray the Best Man doesn't lose the rings, but there are things you just cannot imagine happening on your wedding day.

On the day I married The Big Guy, the main thing that upset him was the popping of the microphone provided by the community centre where we had our reception. To be fair, it was a loud POP, but it wasn't anything we were doing, and there didn't seem to be anything we could do to fix it. He still talks about the microphone.

I've told him there are worse things.

Back when my sister and I were being raised on a farm, we had neighbors with children roughly 5-10 years older than us. Their only daughter was getting married and the family was kind enough to invite us to the nuptials. As luck would have it, my parents alone had an invite to a second cousins' wedding, so we decided that I would take my sister to neighbor wedding and Mom and Dad would go to the family wedding.

Sis and I walked into the large United Church and noticed the church was pretty full, but seemed to be thinned out near the front. Normally as neighbors or friends of the couple, we would be seated nearer to the back, but we lucked out with seats almost directly behind where the family would sit - the 4 empty pews on the Bride's side.

Now I thought nothing of this, because often times the parents and siblings arrive just before the bride. But before you knew it, the organist was playing a rousing march, the bridesmaids were cued at the door and making their way into the sanctuary.

Ok, so maybe her parents and brothers were going to escort the bride to the front - a little avant guarde for the 1980s, but hey, whatever.

NOPE! As the bridesmaids arranged at the front of the church, the groom came across the front of the altar, up the bride's aisle and gently reached for her - walking her to the minister.

What. the. hell? Immediate a murmur rippled through the church as guests on both sides of the invite tried to figure out what happened to the Mother and Father of the Bride, the brothers...and, upon further inspection, the aunts and uncles. It looked like a pie lifter had removed the front section of the church. As the nearest neighbors, people asked my sister and I if we knew what had happened - which as young teens, we were not privy to.

But by the time we got to the reception, the word was out.

The Groom, who was a very motivated, hardworking guy, had a falling out with one of the brothers of the Bride at the rehearsal the night before. The lot of her brothers did not have the same work ethic her new husband had. There had been frustrations in the past - the groom being asked to help with a chore any one of their own three sons could have helped with, he was called upon to do things while their own boys would take days off the farm - you get the idea.

For whatever reason, words were exchanged, the final straw between them was broken and the Bride's parents announced not only would they not grace the nuptials with their presence, the would advise their families to do the same. Apparently word got out to enough of them that roughly 20 people failed to show.

The speech the Groom gave his Bride was one of the more touch, heart wrenching, sincere declarations of love I have ever heard. Without revealing the behind the scenes drama, he told her he had tried to prove his love to her throughout their years together, that he adored her and could not imagine ever leaving her side - he wanted to be there for her. He pointed out that some people have trials throughout their marriage, but if they could get over one of the biggest hurdles at the beginning, then he forecast a beautiful life together.

Everyone cried. Everyone.

I can remember telling my parents the events of the evening. Apparently my cousin's wedding was not nearly as eventful (thank God!) We all shook our heads at the logic used to boycott your daughter's wedding. Especially when you were on the short end of the argument!

Many years later, the Bride became a mommy. Time and a new baby appeared to heal old wounds and eventually she enjoyed a relationship with her parents. How comfortable her husband was with all of this, I don't know. The embarrassment of that day was never discussed again.

But there no photos of this girl with her parents on her special day. Her father was not there for her to walk her down the aisle. Her mother didn't help her get dressed. There was no speech welcoming her husband to the family. Things you can't do over or take back.

Somehow that popping mic just doesn't seem so bad.

Monday, April 12, 2010

When a loss is actually a win

Last year I mentioned to First Born Son that there was a spring hockey program that was new to the area - he might want to check it out.

He passed. I couldn't blame him. He had a crappy year and didn't want to prolong the agony into a 9th month of hockey.

But a lot of his younger friends took advantage and some of them, whose skills were about the same level as his were selected. He decided he wanted to try out this year. So we went for the three tryouts. Not expecting much because we knew what kind of season he had - if it was a grading situation, I would have assigned him a 75%. However it was something he expressed interest in and we want to encourage the kid as much as we can.

First tryout goes well. The Big Guy is happy with how FBS performs. He even gets a moment with one of the coaches who tells him he's doing a great job. I take him to the second tryout and at one point he shuts down a fast breakaway with multiple rebounds. Second Born Son and I look at each other and declare "Whoa!" Goalie boy is on fire!

Third tryout is THE day. I'm not anxious, but FBS is even though he's trying not to show it. We've discussed the odds of him being selected for this team - six goalies, two positions. There are well over 40 kids skating for the team and over half are going to be disappointed. The hardest part for FBS is the three other players who go to his school. Instead of being supportive and encouraging, are puffing themselves up on facebook and in person - while pushing him down. One of them is also a goalie, who FBS has dealt with for years. Raging ego. Talented, but could be more so if he focused and wasn't sloppy. He's big and strong, but not disciplined or fast, or flexible. He mouth makes up for all of that.

So we've discussed why FBS wanted to go through these motions. Primarily to see what other coaches have to say. To determine if he's capable of working to a higher standard when he needs to. To be evaluated alongside other goalies. He came home smiling from the first two tryouts. We tell him we don't expect him to put the kind of pressure on himself that other parents would expect. We tell him to HAVE FUN. And because of that - he plays very, very well.

Sunday comes, and the coaches - in the great tradition that is sporting cruelty, post the list for all to see. If you are on this list - you made it. If you are THAT list - you didn't and EVERYONE WILL KNOW IT.

FBS calls me on the way home to tell him he didn't get picked. He's not going to be on what is pretty much a Triple-A team. He has disappointment in his voice. Before he can get too far, I remind him of why we did this. I point out that his father, brother and I have seen him play the hockey we KNOW he could have played in the season. It's up to him to believe in himself - he proved it in three tryouts. (Note: Only one of the kids who was on his team this year did make the team, but none of three from his school were named - yup that Karma is a BITCH!)

I tell him I'm proud, and I love him, and I'm glad he TRIED.

He sleeps well and I know he's made peace with it. It's enough to keep him motivated until the fall when the madness starts again....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Walking the Tight Rope - Part Deux

Remember all that business a while back about what the right decision was - to force my kid to play ball or not?

Ya well, he's playing.

I gave First Born Son several weeks to ponder on his own, then set a deadline and advised him if he didn't have a summer sport selected before the end of the week, he was going to be signed up for softball.

Not too much resistance. I was cautiously optimistic.

Then Saturday came. He kicked up a bit of a fuss but agreed to go to the Community Centre where we signed him and Second Born Son up for their teams. He's happy, strolling around and checking out the display of BALL GEAR ARRANGED NEAR THE MINOR BALL REGISTRATION TABLE. Things get a little confusing, cheques are written, forms are completed.

I'm so flustered, I tick two boxes - one I meant to - to volunteer to help on SBS's team, and the first box, which was a Freudian slip - to volunteer to help on FBS's team. Not wanting to make a scene and being on a rather tight schedule, we leave and I explain the situation in the truck on the way home.

"So I DID tick the box on your sheet, but I don't need to be a coach for your team," I explain to First Born Son. "I meant to mark down on SBS's form."

He's not overly concerned and spends the next 10 minutes debating the pros and cons of having me involved with the team. Apparently I'm more of an asset than a liability in his eyes. I, however, have not yet decided how I feel on the matter. I've enjoyed coaching, but with boys in the 12-13 age bracket, I'm not sure I can handle their hormones, and those of their little girlfriends.... The Head Coach has asked me to return again, but for many reasons, I'm firmly on the fence.

The Head Coach happened to be at our house for an unrelated matter when FBS comes in the room and announces that not only is he playing, but I'm helping coach the team.

My mom figures that his motivation was less than honorable - perhaps he figures if he has to play ball, I have to coach!

Like mother, like son.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hitting the PAUSE button for Easter

It really occurred to me last night that I'm going to screw up Easter for me kids.

Scratch that.

HOCKEY is going to screw up Easter for my kids. Normally we're done weeks before Easter. Now I'm faced with packing up the crew and delivering the dog to it's Grandparents and THEN watch four games of hockey in a tournament before Easter Sunday.

There are no window clings up. There are no eggs dyed. There is nary a single piece of green plastic grass to indicate to the outside world that we celebrate Easter. It's like this weekend was WEEKS away and I am in denial big time.

And although the kids have yet to notice, I feel like I've let them down - dropped the ball as it were, as a parent. I'm the mom who DOES this crap. I DO the pumpkins at Halloween - not just one - but one for each member of the family. I have banners that scream "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" and I have hand painted ceramic Peter Rabbit with a wheelbarrow that I made B.C. (Before Children) that is really kick-ass. The kids love it. He's in a closet.

Can I tell you what I've spent my free time doing? Not really, but I can tell you, I haven't been sitting on my ass eating bon bons. One night bedtime was actually 12:50 A.M. because I was making muffins for snacks so we could be frugal during our big weekend in the city. THAT made for a fun day on the phones at work. There was the furious trip to a neighboring town to drop off The Big Guy's suit for dry cleaning before The Royal Wedding. That and the subsequent shopping took up the entire evening.
The only saving grace right now is that we will have an Easter celebration at my sister's house. But with the insanity of planning a Royal Wedding, putting finishing touches on her new home and recouperating from the stress of launching an environmental hair salon, I'm sure she's in worse shape than I'm in - and we expect her to COOK!

I now have to figure out how the Easter Bunny is going to arrive. Is he going to hit the house while we are away? (Imagine me filling plastic eggs with chocolate eggs and stashing them around the house in the 5 minutes I will have to "go to the bathroom" right before we leave as the kids sit in the truck) or do I say "Screw this" and set something up in our hotel room.

Right now - I'm at "Screw this".