Some kids’ activities are wonderfully enriching while offering opportunities to make new friends, interact with peers, enhance communication skills and have lots of fun. I benefit from all of these, as the parent of two hockey players.
Recently, the girls on my daughter’s team were enthusiastic participants in a tournament 90 minutes from home. The hotel was booked months in advance and the excitement intensified when the schedule arrived: they would play two games on the Friday – a school day – of the tournament. Although I found it odd, I agreed that playing hooky for hockey was an exhilarating prospect.
The tournament weekend approached, and it became clear that the enthusiasm wasn’t actually about hockey for the kids…or for the parents.
The girls talked about their plan to throw the coach in the pool, and the moms discussed snacks that would travel and keep well in a cooler, and the types of adult beverages that would best accompany our choices.
…and we also packed bagels, fruit, juice boxes and treats.
On the first day of the tournament, the girls played their obligatory two hockey games before, at long last, checking into the hotel. Soon, through the eyes of our children, we experienced every aspect of hotel-excitement imaginable. The girls compared near-identical rooms, marvelled at the ice machine, repeatedly locked and used the keys to unlock the doors, and cheered loudly each time another team-mate found her number on a door nearby.
Careful not to get in the way, the adults wandered into the hallway and shared drinks, snacks and stories of the girls’ excitement.
…and we also offered the kids juice boxes and fruit.
After a long swim and a quick supper, the girls decided they wanted to mini-golf. The adults lingered over pizza, neglecting to talk about the most pressing issue at the time: the united front we should have presented instead of succumbing, at various times to, “But all the other parents said yes!”
On the second night, the kids settled in one room for a movie, and the parents gathered in a nearby room. Here, sitting on beds and as many chairs as the room could hold we discussed the finer points of kids’ hockey, kids’ schools and various other topics about…our kids.
It might have been our sense of parental responsibility that made us realize it was getting late…but it could have been our fear of financial loss as we worried we were seriously risking our astronomical hotel deposit when the girls began running, cart wheeling, dancing and singing up and down the hall. Whichever it was, we collectively decided it was time for bed.
But some of the moms weren’t ready to retire and wanted to continue socializing.
In a hotel, finding a place to gather once the kids are in bed is a challenge similar to serving seven large pizzas; the solution is obvious, but nobody – especially the person who will be sleeping on the pizza bed – is happy with the answer. We sat down on the floor in the hallway using the walls as backrests.
Before long, the concierge marched down the corridor, and with an awkward air of authority and uncertainty, told us…to go to our rooms! The kindergarten teacher amongst us encouraged the group to comply.
But this was certainly not the only humourous moment, and especially noteworthy is the story one mom shared about her disagreement earlier in the day with her nine-year old daughter. As they argued, the daughter’s retort, whether innocently egocentric or extremely perceptive, was entirely amusing. “If it weren’t for me,” she told her mom indignantly, “You wouldn’t be here!”