My oldest son plays hockey. He’s on a travel team and this weekend is a tournament weekend so the family is heading out for a weekend away that will be filled with rinks, snack bars, and hotels. I never wanted to be a travel hockey family. I knew other families who were before Nate became involved in hockey, and I thought these families were nuts. Driving all over frozen northern states and even more frozen southern Canadian provinces. Spending money on weekend trips–I thought it was all ridiculous. Well, here we are, (and most of my friends and family feel the way I used to feel–utter ridiculousness) and here’s the deal: hockey trips are freaking fun. It consists of all of my favorites–restaurants, not cooking, laughter, and beer. (Oh, and my kid playing hockey–that too). The kids (players and siblings) all swim, play games of mini-sticks in the hotel hallway that mirror the intensity of game 7 of the Stanley Cup play-offs, and the parents of these children do what we do best. Drink and laugh. This is not to say that we are all a bunch of crazy alcoholic lunatic adults. But we have been together for a good chunk of our sons’ youth so we’ve become close friends. These weekends away together give us a chance to shed our adult stresses for a night or two and catch a glimpse of our 20’s again, sitting around laughing and talking until all hours of the night.
My biggest concern right now is figuring out what snack food to pack and coordinating outfits so I only have to pack one pair of jeans and boots. How great is that? I’m not filling out a to-do list of errands to accomplish this weekend, but rather I’m going away to hang out with 15 close friends and our kids.
I’ll miss this when it’s over and Nate is grown. I’ll miss the comfort of the friends I’ve made and knowing the other hockey families like our own. I’ll miss watching my two other children jump in and play with the other siblings as they play Marco Polo in the hotel pool when it’s 20 degrees and snowing outside. I’ll miss watching my oldest son form life-long friendships with his teammates and catching glimpses of what they will be like as teenagers. I might even miss the smell of the rinks.
Never the smell of the hockey bag though. Never will I miss that.