Today is another one of those bittersweet days that as parents you kind of hope doesn’t happen. But as time passes they do. They happen and we wish they wouldn’t. For the better part of 17 1/2 years, our children have played either roller or ice hockey. Both involved a commitment of multiple nights per week, weekends and lots of traveling.
Today marked my daughters last home game playing ice hockey. Like her brother, she began by playing roller hockey and moved on to play on the ice. First, she played with boys and for the last few years, she has played on a girls team. We have now played on the rink at Trinity Pawling for nine years.
Watching her play and grow has been an amazing experience. She has developed into a level headed, smart and well rounded young woman. I couldn’t be more proud and could not have asked for more.
With both of my kids, I spent countless hours behind the wheel going to practice, coming home, going to games and tournaments and returning home. Day in and day out.
My colleagues at work know my story and they have listened to me bemoan my situation. Traveling to all corners of New York, to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Last year we thought it was the end based on the fact that we didn’t think we had enough girls to play. But then we did.
But now it really is over. My daughter is a senior and will be attending college next year. There will be no more long talks in the car. No more stories of what she had done in school that day or what she was planning to do with her boyfriend that weekend (who by the way is an outstanding young man). No more stories of her plans for the future and what she wants to study in college.
Folks have been telling me for the last couple of years that despite the driving and the long hours that I would miss it when it was over. I would always stoically reply that I wouldn’t miss it at all.
Life, however, has a funny way of sneaking up on you. After our last home game today we have two games next weekend in Saratoga Springs and then it will be the end.
The thing that I think I will miss most is looking to my right as she talked and seeing her eyes, bright with enthusiasm as she chattered on about her hopes and dreams and me, sitting in the driver’s seat thinking that last day was always a lifetime away and I would have these special moments forever.
But that time is now here. It really is over. Soon she will be in college and I won’t have to drive to any hockey practices, games or tournaments. Even as I write this I have an empty feeling inside knowing that both of my children are now grown up. My wife and I have done our jobs and we can only hope for the best.
But to be totally honest, I already miss the smile and the look when she turned to me and would say, “You aren’t going to believe what happened today.”