Hockey season has started once again and the puck drops here — right in our living room, night after night.
Well, on the TV in our living room, not actually in our living room, though that did happen on at least one occasion. Years ago when the boys would have been around six, eight and 33, I went outside for a walk. While I was gone a live hockey game broke loose in the house. When I returned our sons pointed out how happy I should be that only one overhead light had been smashed to bits and not all three.
“You should have seen it!” they enthused. Apparently their father had “double deked” followed by a spectacular move where he somehow managed to bounce the puck off the bookshelf, the wall and the ceiling (which led to the smashed light) before getting past the oldest son’s defence and the youngest son’s goal pads to “put it between the pipes.”
Hundreds of acres surrounded us and the only place they could find to play hockey was our living room? I went for another long walk, leaving Darcy to pick the glass out of the carpet. Time passed, and one day I was scrubbing down the walls when I noticed a bunch of tiny dents. At first I was puzzled. What would have caused them? Then I realized the wall would have been the “net” and the dents each represented a goal.
Instead of wanting to go for a long walk, I gently fingered the dents and smiled. It was the closest I ever came to being Grape Juice Mom. The one you see on TV with the white carpets. You know the one I mean. Her six-year-old spills a cup of grape juice on the carpet and instead of freaking out she smiles like it’s the cutest thing she has ever seen.
Then she whips out her bottle of Stain-Be-Gone, gives the stain a quick spray followed by a gentle wipe and bimmity bammity boom the stain is gone just like that.
I used to watch that commercial and think, “Wow. I can’t wait to have kids. I’ll finally be able to get that mud stain out of our hall carpet.”
Apparently all you needed was a loving smile and a kid to make the Stain-Be-Gone work.
But seriously, I really did want to be Grape Juice Mom. I wanted to have that kind of patience and ability to see the big picture.
I didn’t want to be the kind of mom who makes her kid feel like he’s a loser just because he can’t hang on to his glass of grape juice. It isn’t easy being small. You stare at knees all day long and the owner’s of the knees are always telling you what to do. And it’s confusing because the knees don’t always tell you the same thing. For example, one set might tell you not to shoot pucks in the house while the next set shows up in hockey pads, hands you and your brother a stick and starts shooting out the lights.
There were definitely times when our family life was closer to a hockey game than a Stain-Be-Gone commercial. There were lots of face offs, time outs and defensive moves. We had fast forwards and long evenings spent going over our game plan. Sometimes patience was our captain and other times it was struck from the roster altogether. Once I was even involved in a sweater over the head altercation.
The hand-knit sweater was a beautiful (and thoughtful) Christmas gift but our son thought it was the lamest, geekiest thing he had ever had the sorry misfortune to unwrap.
In trying to convince him to wear it for the family photo, things digressed into me trying to pull the sweater over his head and him trying to pull it back off.
It was definitely not a Grape Juice Mom moment.
Oh, well. Maybe you can’t bring home the Stanley Cup every year but that doesn’t mean you’re not a team — even if some of your players refuse to wear matching sweaters.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org