Goalies and Gratitude

Sunday, March 31, 2019

This is the first of the quiet weekends.

We've just finished 6 months of 6am Saturday practies and 1 or 2 games a weekend. The goalie gear has been dried cleaned and put away. I don't know if he'll be playing nets again next year. After the teams were picked, the shortage of players in our age group was apparant. We had 12 players and no goalie. There were only 2 goalies between the 4 teams. After some discussion about what we might do, my sweet boy told his dad "Tell Coach Mike I'll play in nets. I'll do that for our team."

My heart melted and at the same time I began to fill with anxiety. You see, my boy started novice as a forward, moved into goalie his second year and fell in love with it. But throughout the second half of his second season in nets, he took every loss personally. If a goal got passed him, his confidence would take a dip. At the end of that year he announced to his coach, in front of his whole team no less, that he wasn't sure he wanted to play hockey again. He most definietly wasn't going to get between the pipes.

Last year was a rebuilding year. Gordon and I did a great deal of minset work with our boy. We built his confidence back up. I found it was easier to watch the games with my boy on defense instead on in the net. It was not nearly as stressful! Being a Goalie Mom is not for the faint of heart! By the end of the season he was loving hockey again and there was not one mention, request or longing to return to the lonely end of the rink.

So you can understand why his eagerness to step up for the team caught me off guard and made my inner mama bear nervous. We had some good chats and he insisted. So I spoke with teh coach. I made it very clear that I would pull him from nets if we thought his self esteem was being negatively impacted and our awesome coach agreed and we came up with a plan to support our goalie.

We started the year strong, but struggled the second half. We had a string of loses, and while Ozzy would get emotional or be disappointed with the loss, he continued to show up strong and confident for his team. Coach counted on him as a leader and he even awarded Ozzy the honour of Assistant

It has been an outstanding year in so many respects. Our little team with 12 players earned a spot in the Top division, we beat our two riva teams when it really mattered and earned ourselves a spot in teh semi-finals. That last game was one of their very best of the season! The other team scored one goal, and only because the puck bounced off of his stick and squeeked in over his shoulder. There was no way he could stop it. Our boys fired shot after shot but the other team's goalie was as hot as Oz and we werent able to tie it up.

Which brings us back to this quiet weekend. 

It's still busy, as the team manager I have financial reports to get done, the team party to organize and team gifts to make. One thing I am doing first though is taking a few minutes to say thank you to all the people who helped us have an incredible year. I truly believe that being grateful and expression my appreciation for others is very important. I'm no Emily Post but if someone has gone out of their way to help others, I think that should be recognized. There are so many volunteers behind the scenes that help the players, coaches, managers, families and the community.  Plus I have to say my #hockeymomtribe was the best. At the very least they deserve to be recognized for their contribution. It feels good to fill other people's cup.

As much as I love handwritten thank you notes, I am really struggling with time and I didn't have everyone's mailing address. I don't have any cute papercards on hand and my budget is a little tight so buying the really nice ones wouldn't be a splurge I could do this week. An email seemed plain and too work like. I had an account at and had recieved some credits to try out the site. I scrolled through until I found just the right designs for each of my notes!  I turned a Christmas card into a perfect Hockey Mom thank you and found a cute New Yorker design for a fun note to a friend. 
Paperlesspost app

I love that I can send a thank you card but save paper and postage! When it comes to mailing things I'm not always on top of that (I have been know to send a birthday card a few weeks late, not on purpose just because getting to the post office to get stamps is not something i think to do) so I KNOW I got my thank yous out much quicker than I would have if I hand wrote them and the cost of each card was less than a paper card as well. The site also has some free designs that are really cute. I will definitely be topping up my account when my credits run out.

I guess I'll finish these thank yous much faster than I thought and can move on to some other to dos that I haven't gotten to in the past 6 months, like cleaning my house lol.

When the phone rings

Monday, August 27, 2018

I struggle to understand how everything could seem so wonderful and happy only to have my heart utterly shattered completely out of the blue and putting it back together is a very slow and painful process.

June 1, 2018 started like any other day. I got up, packed lunches, morning scramble out the door, dropped kids off with hugs and kisses and wishes to have a great day and then I drove to work. Turned my computer on and did my tasks, the day exactly like the day before it. My phone on silent but face up on my desk in case the school called. Every day my phone sits face up on my desk. On June 1, it rang. My friend called.

My friend called.

She did not text, she called.

My heart sank and I knew.

I picked it up and she said his name and I knew. The sound of her voice and the weight of her words still sit on my heart. Every moment of that conversation sits on my heart.

Her sweet, amazing Noah had passed away unexpectedly in the night. I don't know how long we spoke. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that we sat in silence because there are just no words that can make a mother, a friend, feel anything other than grief and disbelief.

I still can't wrap my head around how suddenly life changed. He had been here at our house not even a week before playing with our kids, playing in our yard, sliding down the playhouse slide and making funny faces in our traditional couch picture.  We had talked about their next trip, hugged and kissed and loved and laughed. The very last thing that would ever have crossed my mind was that this would be his last visit to our home.

Noah was an amazing little boy with CHARGE syndrome. Laura and John were his advocates and did so much to ensure that he had the best life and helped educate others about their special boy and the CHARGE community.

In the days, weeks, month since Noah has been honored by his family, his school and his community. The people who surrounded my friends and their children with love and generosity in the days immediately following the call restores my faith in the good of the world.

Telling my children that their friend had gone to be with Jesus was hard. Walking through the weeks before my trip to visit them was hard, because while every fiber of my being wanted to jump on a plane that evening, I knew that when the family and friends cleared out after the service my friend would need space and then she would need me. The blessing of having friends for decades is that you know them well and sometimes you just know what the other needs.

Getting to the other side of the country was more stressful than it needed to be. Broken planes, delays, terminal changes- my anxiety grew but I made it.  Holding myself together to be strong for them was hard. I landed and spent four love and grief filled days being called "Hey you girl!" and "Wisa" by some of my favorite tiny humans. We had a birthday party and dance parties, nap times and silent understanding, tears, hugs and laughter. What was not hard was being with her, with them. The hard is found in the weight of how their life had changed forever and that I could do so very little to carry that burden for them. The hard is knowing I can't fix it, change it or even make a small dent in healing them.

For months I have checked on my littles in their sleep. This is so ridiculous to a rational mind but anxiety is never rational. My anxiety about their safety has gone up. Dealing with the irrational fear that something could happen to my babies and with the internal guilt of not being able to be with my friends, not being able to just bring their sweet boy back and make it better has been like sacks of sand on my shoulders. I have struggled with what to share on social media because I question if my words are coming out "right".

In reality nothing will ever be as hard as what they are walking through each and every day.

If you know a family walking through grief know that you can never fix it. What you can do is be kind.
  1. Fill their freezer with food (easy, ready to reheat meals)
  2. Clean their home or send a gift card for a service. 
  3. Offer to take their children to the park or offer to stay with them so parents can get out. 
  4. Be there when they need you. 
  5. Let them know they are loved and never, ever forget about their child. Remember them, share the pictures that you have of them, make a plan to honor them. 

This is not the post I sat down to write but this is what poured out of my heart. Noah we loved you so much and we're trying our best to watch over your people from a far. We love you all so much. 

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