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Last night I found myself fighting back tears in the middle of a rink. It’s not the first time, which is embarrassing to admit. Although sometimes those tears are a result of being proud, last night it was because my heart was breaking a little bit and I can’t be near any one of my children who are crying (for something real – not being told “no”) without tearing up myself and that’s where I found myself last night.

My youngest son’s hockey team is struggling. Hugely – on and off the ice.  It’s the first time since both boys or any of my children have played sports at all where the kids are not meshing socially as well as on the ice/field. Usually in the worst of situations there is some camaraderie and don’t get me wrong there are friendships on the team and Rhett has spent some time outside of hockey with two boys in particular from the team but last night he told us he wants to quit.

We don’t quit things in our family. Life sucks. Things are hard. We don’t give up. We don’t give in. We make mistakes and try to fix them and sometimes we find ourselves in a real mess but we don’t quit and we’re not going to let him quit either.

We’re not going to let him quit because he made a commitment to a team. We’re not going to let him quit because in the midst of all this he is going to learn some valuable life skills. He is going to have at least one job where he does not like his co-workers or his boss or maybe both but because it’s a job and he’s still probably going to like to eat food and live indoors, he’ll have to work through that and keep that job for the time being.

Yes, I realize he’s 9 years old but it is never too early to learn how to deal with (appropriate) shit. Also all of my children have inhabited my significantly emotional, sensitive, and passionate nature. When we are happy we are really happy, sad, very sad, angry – look out! However, this boy, this boy is my happiest. He sings all of the time, dances, and his laugh brings a smile to all of our faces; his energy and enthusiasm, while at times are overwhelming, are also contagious. He also loves hockey.

Last night that sweet face sat across from me, huge green eyes brimming with tears that he eventually let fall and I used everything in my power not to let mine. He didn’t want to tell us what was wrong but finally broke down and said: “I feel like I want to quit.” He cried. Openly, in public. His sport he loves was letting him down – or rather this particular experience with it and it’s crushing him and by default, us.

My chest is tight as I write this because if one of my kids is hurting, I am too. Am I being dramatic? No.  They are my heart and I’ll never apologize for that. Guess what else though? Any emotional upset for me typically results in anger (something I’m trying to work on) and luckily the rest of our night was otherwise occupied otherwise I would have reverted to a full on immature tirade to my husband (not in front of Rhett but after he went to bed). Now I’ve had some time to think.

I’m unhappy he’s unhappy but kids are resilient. He made a commitment. We will support him every step of the way through the remaining 2 months of this season. I will not complain (well, who are we kidding, my husband (friends, co-workers….sorry peeps!) will get an earful now and again). I will also not let my kid’s love for this sport die. We will focus on what’s ahead. We’ll focus on the new friendships he’s made. We’ll focus on his progress and celebrate that.

He’s 9 and he’s not going to the NHL but he is playing a sport he loves. He needs teaching, support, encouragement, and to be able to have fun – like every other kid out there playing any sport. That’s our job as adults.

Also I will be throwing some sort of end of hockey season soiree – even if it’s just me, myself, and I. Feel free to join me. Dress code will be bedtime casual and BYOB (Bring your Own Blanket – I’m tired of being cold), and we will drink warm beverages out of mugs – not the travel kind that will permanently scar your tongue the first time your try to take a sip or a paper cup that holds heat for approximately 3.5 minutes. It’s going to a high class affair!

Til then, I’ll be at the rink…resting bitch face will be in full effect but feel free to say hi anyway. 😉

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