I thought I did really well this weekend. Sure, there were a few tears, but no shoulder-heaving sobs and no Kleenex needed, so all in all, it was a huge success. Then we pulled in the driveway, and opened the kitchen door. I could feel the water start to well up in the bottom of my eyes, but I fought it valiantly, and it went away. Dinner was a little quieter than usual, and my evening walk a little longer. I slept through the night and this morning had breakfast with my husband while we watched Fox News. I checked my facebook and e-mail accounts and read one supportive message after another. People are so sweet. After a morning walk, it was time for errands. The tellers at the bank gently asked how my weekend had gone, and I gave them the highlights while keeping it together. I really started to believe I was going to make it through this whole event unscathed. And then it happened. I was less than a mile from home when a big white Suburban pulled out in front of me. I noticed the sticker on the back window.
Marcus High School Hockey #88 Within a nanosecond I was reduced to a pile of rubble. I had to pull off the road because the tears were streaming down my face so furiously I could no longer drive. I sat there for what seemed like an eternity, there was no stopping the water works or the sick feeling in my stomach. How could they give his number away so casually? Didn't they know he wore the red and white #88 CCM brand jersey for 5 years? He had tried out for the high school team as an eighth grader, and made it. 5 years of early practices before school, or 10 pm practices on Monday nights. 5 years of games first on Sunday afternoons, then when he made Varsity, on Thursday nights. And before all of this, 8 years of sitting in smelly rinks all over the country watching my little boy skate and shoot and celebrate the love of this icy game. And just like that, it was all over.
My youngest graduated from High School in June and this past weekend I dropped him off at his new home. He's at a college 10 hours away from me, and the hockey bag is here in the garage. I know he ™ll do well in school; he's there on a debate scholarship. I know he ™ll make new friends; he's already hit the fraternity scene. I know my husband and I will be able to do a lot of traveling now that no one else is home with us. All of these are good things and yet I can't help wishing there was just one more game to attend.
Kelli Kirkham has been a burb mom for 20 years. Through Girl Scout cookies sales, Cub Scout camp outs, dance recitals, room mom parties, middle school drama and high school dances, she has retained her sanity. This year she begins the challenge of trying to remember who she is without kids in the home.