Mom Talk

The Day I had to Tell My Son NO

Have you ever had to tell your child no? I’m not talking about the “Mom, can I…” questions. I’m talking about with something BIG, something to do with their dreams. This is the single hardest thing I have ever had to do, and that was the moment I knew things had to change.

Anyone that knows my family, knows that HOCKEY plays a HUGE part of our lives. I’m a hockey mom and coach. My husband is a coach and referee. All in the name of love. My husband and I are not hockey people. Well, we weren’t. I am now that it is the love of my son’s life. My husband still doesn’t care for it but he makes mega sacrifices for this kid of his. Well, this summer my kiddo made the decision NOT to play summer ice hockey (He plays inline hockey as well, so that is the reason for this distinction. Games were on Wednesday nights and that’s when we go to church, so he decided that was not a sacrifice he was willing to make (his decision, not mine but it made me so proud). So, after talking to some more experienced hockey parents, one suggested letting him try out for one of the travel teams. It is really good experience and it would get him some ice time since he wasn’t able to play. This particular team didn’t charge to try out, so I talked it over with my crew and they both agreed that it could be a fun experience. Mind you, he has never played organized ICE hockey. He fell in love with hockey when he found out local inline team. He’s been playing since he was six. Loves it. And we go ice skating. But the closest ice rink that offers ice hockey is an hour drive one way. So, I had put off signing him up for ice. So this tryout would be his first official step towards his real dream: NHL.

So, I drove him to try-outs the first day. We were super late, and by late I mean he had exactly 7 minutes to get his gear on and get on the ice. No time for warm ups and no time to skate out the nerves. In the car, he looks at me and says, “Mom, I think I’m gonna hurl.” He was incredibly nervous and was having major doubts about going through with this adventure. I kept reassuring him and telling him that this is JUST for the experience. No pressure, no worries.

The first day, he did OK. As his coach, I have a hard time being objective because I KNOW what he is capable of. I knew he wasn’t playing his best. It was really hard for me to watch. He looked scared, and quite frankly a little lazy. One of his hockey friends was also trying out with us. He decided at the last minute that he wanted to go so he had ridden up with us. They were both struggling with confidence. On the way home, I made sure they both understood that these kids have been playing on ice for years. This was a new thing for us and as long as they went out and did their best, there is nothing to be upset about. The second day of try-outs wasn’t until the next week so that gave the boys plenty of time to “get over” this first day.

Driving up to the second day of try-outs, I had another talk with the boys. You know the one….It doesn’t matter if you make it or not. It was about getting out here and seeing what you need to work on. Do your best, blah blah blah. I did all of that and then I pulled my guy aside and told him….”How are you ever going to know if you are the best if you don’t get out here and DO YOUR BEST?” I don’t know if this is exclusive to my kid, if it’s a boy thing, or what but if my child even THINKS he is not the best, he refuses to give 100%. Why? Well, if he gives 100% and still loses, he has failed. If he doesn’t give 100% and loses, well he hasn’t failed because he didn’t try….so he LET you win. This is something we are working on but it is an every day battle.

So, this kid gets out there and he plays. 3 on 3. Coach Mom is still struggling but I can see major improvements. He did well. Not his best, but well. Both kids came off the ice super excited and happy. They wouldn’t know til the next day who made the team but they were both satisfied with the way things went. In the meantime, I have been handed a paper. It is the cost break down of joining the team. They wanted $400 in 5 five days. WHAT?! So, now I am going back and forth from “I hope he makes it” to “please, don’t make it cuz we can’t afford this”. I explain to both boys that the team would be posted some time the next day and left it at that.

The next morning, I woke up pretty early and just for kicks, decided to see if the team had been posted yet. It was up. I read the list probably 4 times before I could assure myself of what I saw. This is the team list. My kid’s name IS on it. Oh dear. Now what? I’m not gonna lie. I was so incredibly excited for this kid. Having never played ice before and making the team on his very first try….he continues to amaze me. And I just kept thinking…they haven’t even seen the REAL him either so they would be in for a huge treat. So, I went downstairs and woke him up. I sat on the side of the bed and told him I had to show him something (straight face). I handed him my phone. “Mom, I made it. I REALLY made it.”

Now comes the hard part. I would do ANYTHING for my kid. Anything. But…coming up with that much money that fast…I couldn’t do it. And that wasn’t even half of what the team fees would be. And then discussing travel with the team and expenses. Nope. We can’t afford travel hockey. Not yet. And that is when I knew. Something has to change. This is my child’s DREAM and I have had to crush it because we can’t afford it. And I have a GOOD job. Amazing benefits. But the reality is, a dollar does not go as far as it used to. It just doesn’t.

So, that is where we are. And how I ended up here. Blogging. Because….hopefully, with God’s grace I can start bringing in some extra income for my family. Because we all have dreams and I want to see every one of them come true.

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