My respite in the sun is over.
I have been called to service again. No longer can I hide from the cold, harsh world ruled by ice and infused with the pungent odor of damp, moldy socks and acrid zamboni fumes. I must prepare myself for battle. I must return to my duty.
My goal? Delivering my charge - the potential hero of the game. He must be prepared. He must be PACKED. He cannot forget his neck guard, shoulder pads, gloves, underarmour, jock strap, knee pads, elbow pads, helmet, jersey. Most of all, he cannot forget his SKATES. This is his armour. His stick his weapon. His mother is his pack mule.
Once again, I must forge through congested rush-hour streets to get to the arena on time. My steady steed - our Chrysler minivan. Only three years old and already nearing 100,000 kms. We have been to many arenas in our travels.
I must, once again, curb my desire to curse at those unsuspecting drivers that are in my way. My charge cannot be subjected to his pack mule's increasing frustration and stress. My charge must not arrive for his battle in a bad mood. His pack mule must remain calm.
If we are lucky, if we arrive on time, with all equipment ready, if my charge has had enough time to eat, if his pack mule has not flipped off more than one driver or run through too many yellow lights, if the minivan steed has not run out of gas, all will be well. My charge will be dressed and on time, waiting to face the enemy. Waiting to enter the cold, hard surface of the arena and conquer all foes.
But wait? What is this I hear? My now fully-armoured charge is whispering in my ear, his small, determined face barely visible through the helmet cage protecting him from the danger of flying pucks and attacking sticks.
Have we forgotten an important piece of equipment in his arsenal? Does he need advice or encouragement from his pack mule?
Nay. It is something much, much worse. He leans in closer to me.
"Mom. I need to go pee."
The pack mule collapses at his feet.