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Mom Mondays: Pucks and Parallel Parking

 

There comes a day in every hockey mom’s life when she finally finds the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; that is, her hockey players get their driver’s license. And I have just hit the jackpot – call it my personal hat trick! The last and youngest of my three children just got their license. Someone give me a medal.
 
All three of my children can now drive a car all by themselves, quin adultorum.
 
There are a lot of advantages that go with this privilege: they can drive themselves, and perhaps their teammates, to hockey; they can participate in after-school sports without me having to leave work early to pick them up; they can pick up milk and bread for me (for them, really); they can now get a job that doesn’t rely on public transportation (which is limited where we live); most important of all – I now have three more designated drivers at my disposal! Okay, that last one is probably not most important but there is truly now personal freedom for both hockey mom and player.
 
On the other hand, having a driver’s license is a big responsibility for a teenager – and can be very stressful for hockey moms too. The hockey season typically holds the worst possible driving conditions imaginable for any driver, let alone an inexperienced one. Even though I now have five years’ experience with teenage drivers, when a weather alert and a hockey reminder pop up simultaneously on my phone, I still go into all-out DefCon 4 mamabear mode. A few years ago, we had three tournaments in one weekend and my husband was out of town. My eldest drove to his games an hour and a half away with one of his teammates, while I managed the home tournaments with my other two. Weather and road conditions deteriorated all day and I begged him to stay in a hotel overnight and return in the morning when the weather cleared. But teenagers are immortal, and he chose to drive home. I found out later that he navigated the highway driving with the head coach’s car leading the pack and an assistant coach bringing up the rear. (As if I don’t thank the heavens enough for hockey coaches!) My teenage son made it home safely, and I got to spend a rare Saturday night with him as he had no intentions of venturing out into the snow again that evening.
 
If you do have teenage drivers in your family that frequently or even on occasion drive themselves to hockey, please, please make sure that they have some kind of roadside assistance program at their disposal, that they leave the house with a fully charged phone and not relying on their smartphone map to know where they’re going, and that the car they’re driving is well-maintained, full of gas, has winter tires, lots of windshield wiper fluid and flares in case of a roadside emergency. And you know they’re leaving the house in -25C without a coat on, so make sure they leave with your hockey blanket in the car with them too!
 
While it’s technically true that I no longer have to go to a single minor hockey event again in my life, the reality is otherwise, of course. I will still go to as many games as I can!
 
Three cheers for licensed hockey players – and my very own hat trick of them!

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