Slice of Life 2021 Day 19: Senior Night

Today marks Day 19 of the Slice of Life challenge. Join me as I work to write every day in March – and beyond!

It was my son’s senior night at hockey.

This guy. He’s been skating since he was two.

I mean…LOOK at this kid. Bro’s in the background.

Yes, I’m a hockey mom. I have been for a long time. He started on a house league team in kindergarten. He actually played on the same team as his second-grade brother. Then my husband suggested he play travel hockey in first grade. And I’ll confess: putting my son into travel hockey at the age of six felt like a violation of everything I stood for in regard to the development of kids. I fought it with every fiber of my being, until.

Until I saw how much happiness and fulfillment hockey brought him. When he stepped out onto the ice, he looked – still looks! – joyful. Even from a hundred feet away, I can see him smiling through that cage.

Hockey has also brought him some of his darkest times. He’s fought his way through a lot. I can count at least four or five times where hockey had betrayed him in one way or another. Times any ordinary person would have shrugged their shoulders, cut their losses and moved on to another sport. Times I could have sworn he would hang up his skates and walk away.

He didn’t.

Wow, do I ever admire that guy. This one’s for him.

your skates:
they have been
your feet ever
since the age of two
I’ve seen you glide and stride
over the past thirteen years
if anyone were to ask me
what’s your truest expression of self,
where it is that you feel the most like YOU,
I’d point them in the direction of the ice
this slippery surface that serves as solid ground
and I’d tell them this place. This place has always been home.

This is how much we love mom taking our picture

Sandwiched between brother and dad. Hockey family through and through.

Senior night banner (see that smile on the ice? Told you!)

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29 Responses to “Slice of Life 2021 Day 19: Senior Night”

  1. Melissa andrews Says:

    Such beautiful words about hockey and Sammy the bull! Many fun memories! Wishing him great success in his future!

  2. Raivenne Says:

    Oh the joy that shines through each word! Such a proud mama!

  3. arjeha Says:

    The light in his eyes. You have every right to be one proud hockey mom.

  4. onathought Says:

    I love this beautiful ode to your son and the sport he loves! Isn’t parenting funny – how you have these ideas… but then your kids show you a different way! I love how this is a story, and also a poem. Your pride and joy show through all!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Kids ALWAYS show me a different way. That’s been such an important thing I’ve learned about parenting – to trust the wisdom of my children more than I often do.

  5. Shaista Says:

    I can see and feel the pride you feel each time you watch him play!

  6. Fran Haley Says:

    Lainie – that little guy photo STOLE MY HEART. And I swear I have seen that exact “MOMMM” expression on my own younger son’s face when taking a photo. Your poem… that metaphor for slippery ice being solid ground is so powerful. Nailed it. He’s a handsome kid – and all kids need a place of “belonging.” I celebrate with you that he found it. Beautifully rendered, all.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Right? I mean, who can resist that face? He IS a pretty awesome guy. And…true to form, when I shared this link with him, the response was a proverbial eye roll.

  7. Juliette Awua-Kyerematen Says:

    What a tribute. You must be so proud of this sportsman you’ve helped to groom. I just love the kindergarten Levin. There is a strong message in this slice for parents. Encourage them in their interests and take photographs of them whilst they persevere in their interest.
    I’m taking a leaf out of this book.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks! I *am* pretty proud of him. Much of who he is was a matter of getting out of his way when the need arose. =)

  8. theapplesinmyorchard Says:

    Oh, I hope you and Sam enjoyed your special hockey night. It is so rewarding to see joy on their faces when they really love something and stick with it through thick and thin, P.S. I get the same “look” when I wanted to take pics of my boys! How about those senior banners, too?! Ben had one for soccer but track never got off the ground last year, so none for that. They are kind of a cool keepsake.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      We DID enjoy it! And today, he and his teammates will play for the state championship – an opportunity that was taken from their team last year with the advent of COVID. So…ALL the feels today.

      • theapplesinmyorchard Says:

        Best Wishes for a Great Day (and, a win, of course! )

      • Lainie Levin Says:

        Well…it wasn’t a win. But it was an epic fight! Scoreless through three periods before an overtime loss. It’ll take a while for my guy to pick up the pieces.

      • theapplesinmyorchard Says:

        Sorry to hear! It is hard on our athletes when things don’t pan out! Our soccer team went to state for the first time ever in 2018 but couldn’t make it back the following year. Many were devastated. Someday, I hope it becomes a fond memory for your son! Thx for letting me know!

  9. mgminer Says:

    Definitely a special time in both of your lives. I loved your poem (I know a nonet is 9 lines. What do you call this form with 13 lines?). My boys played baseball and my daughter played basketball. Senior nights were always very poignant rites of passage.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Actually, the poem is an etheree, which starts at one syllable, then goes to two, three, four…I picked 13 lines because it’s the number of years he played hockey.

  10. Anna Maria Says:

    Pride exudes from this entire Slice. The pictures brought a smile to my face. As much as he acts annoyed that a picture is being snapped secretly he’s probably appreciative.

  11. livinglife816287820 Says:

    This is amazing, I know nothing about ice hockey except it looks scary and dangerous and people have told me of the awful injuries and meanness of some players. But it’s obviously your son’s life and it’s building him into a strong character. I am in awe (particularly as I can’t skate one stride!!)

  12. hzreflections Says:

    I love your letter and the pictures. That smile on the banner- you can see how much he loves the ice! You are right!

  13. mindyr6572 Says:

    Your love for your son is so evident and relatable. I have two sons and there is just something about boys and their moms that are special.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Absolutely. I also love that I have such different relationships with both of my boys. I love the people they are becoming.

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