Whew! When I signed Julian for T-ball, it was a calculated risk that T-ball would overlap Gabriel's hockey. Overall my gamble worked: only one night would there be a conflict. And tonight was the night.
So, I picked the boys up, zoomed Julian over to T-ball practice at 5pm, then zoomed Gabriel to hockey, where he got on the ice at 5:18pm. Hockey takes so much longer to suit up for, parking is worse, it takes longer to find a spot to suit up, and the pitiful minimal gear we have is harder to deal with (snapping on the helmet is a pain!).
Then I zoomed again to go get Katrina, while Dave joined Julian at his game, and took him home when it was over.
Crazy as it was, I made two observations. One is that Katrina is completely engaged during the hockey lesson. She loves watching it, even though she has to stand on a bench and look through some plexiglass to see. And it's cold and noisy and poorly lit, but, she loves it. She's much harder to entertain at T-ball.
The other is, again, despite the inconveniences, how much I like watching hockey and skating, and how awed I am by the toughness of my little firstborn son. The warmup exercise involved the entire class -- over 25 kids, most bigger and almost all better skaters than Gabriel -- chasing a single puck. I thought this was sort of silly really, they have plenty of pucks, couldn't they have tossed a few more on? But despite this swarm, relatively tiny Gabriel isn't the slightest bit intimidated, and fights hard to get to the front of the pack and actually got his stick on the puck a few times. He's getting good enough at stickhandling that now his skating is holding him back; he really needs to improve his hockey skating. Unfortunately, his confidence means he thinks he can skate well, even when an even smaller 5-year-old boy whizzed past him.
Still, I look at my burgeoning son out there and feel like this is what makes it all worth it. Logistics were hectic tonight, but just look at how strong and sure he is, how he's growing, being challenged, exercising his character. That is by far the most important job I have in my life. Developing these remarkable beings, these silly children is more than worth leaving work early, it's essential. Besides, I think I need it more than they do.