Tonight the Baart family loaded up two hockey bags full of stinky equipment and headed down to the local ice rink for our end of the year banquet and game. Aaron is a coach and my oldest son is a Termite. Yup, you read that right: you’ve got your Mites (they’re the little guys), the Mini-Mites (self-explanatory), and then there’s the Termites (squirts so tiny you marvel that they can manage to stay upright beneath all that equipment). Dressing my son for practice is a fifteen-minute affair replete with shin guards, elbow pads, knee socks, garter, hockey shorts, shoulder pads, jersey, and helmet. Did I mention ice skates? Lacing those things up is a five-minute job in and of itself. Oh, but I love it. What could be more fun than watching him scoot around the ice?
I have to admit though, in prepping for tonight it never once crossed my mind that I would have one of those intense “mommy moments.” You know the ones--those brief yet poignant realizations that my baby is not my baby anymore…
After the banquet the hockey association had a brief meeting for parents during which the kids had a free skate with the guys from the college hockey team. My Big Boy is only four. I never imagined that he’d jump on the ice with all those older kids and let mom and dad disappear. But that’s exactly what he did! He got all geared up, stepped one foot out onto the ice, and never looked back. I missed him so much during the meeting! And you better believe I beat a fast track back to the rink the second the buzzers went off for the Zamboni. In the midst of dozens and dozens of kids, there was my sweet baby, calmly taking off all his equipment and chatting with the boys next to him. Sigh. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when his daddy geared up for the coaches’ game against the Bantam’s and Big Boy trotted off happily to find his new friends. I looked at my real Baby and said, “It’s just you and me, honey.” Except for that he’s a total chick magnet and had his own group of little admirers around him in no time. Sigh again. My boys are four and one. How can they be growing up so fast?
As I tucked my boys in tonight, I kissed their soft cheeks and whispered, “Mommy loves you to the moon and back,” just like I’ve done every single night since they became my sons. But tonight I couldn’t help whispering a prayer as I left their rooms: Lord, help me savor these precious years.
And then I spent a little time with Kahlil Gibran. From The Prophet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.