Tag Archives: family life

Hockey and the Here and Now

20 Apr

It was loud. So loud. Ear-itching loud. The cheers, whoops, heavy metal music, screams, applause, a roar of a soundtrack filling the building, and increasing. A flurry of white towels, twirled in small circles with abandon, was juxtaposed against the black garb of every die-hard Kings fan.

As the tension of anticipation rose – along with the decibel level – I put my arms and my towel down for a moment and got still. I felt a vibration in my chest – so much bass. I looked at each of the men in my life – my husband of 22 years who lured me into this hockey fanaticism when we were dating, and my sons, 18 and 14, who had been attending Kings game faithfully since they were in utero. I smiled at the pure joy of hope, of expectation, of promise that was obvious in their screaming demeanors, their fists pumping the air wildly to “This Is LA.” Yes!

18,000 of us, hollering exultantly because the puck had not yet been dropped on this first home playoff game of the season. We could all celebrate this moment, the culmination of a grind-it-out fall and winter that qualified us for late April play.

I breathed it in, savoring every sound, every sight. The smell of my ice cold beer, the taste of it so perfect after my onion-laden hot dog. The cold blast of air from some unseen vent that had chilled us at every game since we began sitting in Section 218, Row 12, several years before.

This time next year, not one of us knows where we’ll be. Let’s be honest – we don’t even know IF we’ll be. Certainly we hold hope and expectation that our oldest will be away at the University of Texas-Austin navigating his way through his freshman year of college. We expect that our youngest will be moving forward through the challenge that the sophomore year of high school inevitably brings. We expect that we will all be able to successfully respond to the change in our family dynamic – that party of four becoming a party of three. That we’ll be alive, and healthy. But we don’t really know.

And that’s what makes living in the moment – one of those buzz phrases of our time – so important. It’s certainly not new. Jesus himself advised us not to worry about tomorrow for “tomorrow will worry about itself.”

He knew then that our tendency is to focus on the goal, the destination, and to worry about all the steps that lead there. And while we must do our share of planning if we are to be successful, prepared people (and not end up lost somewhere, either literally or figuratively), if we are to go to college, lose weight, remodel our homes, coordinate a fundraiser, even make a healthy, balanced dinner, we must look forward and plan.

But not at the expense of missing what’s happening right now. Today. This minute, this right now, that moment before the hockey game begins. While others shouted, “Drop the puck!” because they just wanted this game to get started, to get closer to that hoped-for outcome, I just wanted to languish in this anticipatory revelry a few more moments. Tears pushed at the edges of my eyeliner and I thanked God for these seconds, this slice of sheer joy that had risen up in the strangest of places – downtown LA in a sea of fluttering rally towels, with rabid fanatical hockey fans, and with the most precious people in my life. This is a blessing from God. This is the experience. Marinate in it. Experience it with every one of the senses. Rejoice. Be thankful. Soak it up. And I did.

If you follow hockey, you know how the rest of the night went. We got to scream hysterically in celebration of four unanswered goals – some coming so close together that we hadn’t finished cheering for the previous one– only to end up losing the game in overtime, 6-5. Oh, yes, quite the buzzkill. People will certainly talk about this game for years – how the Kings blew a four-goal lead and the San Jose Sharks were amazingly able to rally in this game after losing the previous game 4-0.

But I will never forget this night for what happened before the main event. I will always cherish, relish and reflect on that blessing of being right where I was, happy, safe, secure and profoundly thankful in experiencing the joy of hope and promise. Unlike a four-goal lead, no one can ever take that away from me.

It’s Only Hair, Right?

24 Jan

It’s only hair, right?

Yesterday, in an act of independence, my 14 year old son went with two friends to SuperCuts for a trim of his golden locks. The boy has been blessed with beautiful, fine, straight hair. I marvel that he is my biological son, and yet I have coarse, thick, curly (with gel, frizzy without) dark hair. He has hair that on a girl would be Marcia Brady Hair (the hair I so coveted in my own teens). Today, or more accurately, yesterday, it would have been known as Justin Bieber hair.

He knew he was in trouble when his “stylist” grabbed clippers. Clippers for a trim?

“I just want a trim,” he reminded her.

“I know,” she said.

And then the buzz. Up that back of his nearly shoulder-length hair and his neck.

He panicked. Is she giving me one of those step-cut bowl cuts?

He sat in silent horror as she shaped a 1980s Joey Lawrence as a toddler mushroom cut.

So, he said, you’ve gotta go shorter up top (meaning, blend it so it’s not a bi-level haircut). She didn’t understand, and further mangled his diminishing locks.

Finally, knowing it was beyond repair, he told her to buzz it. Number 2, setting. All over.

Now, let me be clear: if he had wanted a buzz cut, I would not be blogging about this. We would all (except for a number of freshman girls, I imagine) be fine with it. But he didn’t want it. He wanted a frickin’ trim, stupid lady!

I could tell he was biting back some tears as he explained it to us. His two buddies (who got a bit luckier in the StupidCuts lottery) were kind and supportive.

My oldest son was furious about it (he shares my hair-itage). He went on a verbal rant.

I almost cried (I would have but too many people around, you know?) because it brought back so many horrible memories of my own bad haircuts. Let’s just say, Brunette Little Orphan Annie, and leave it at that, okay?

My husband, formerly of the long flowing locks crowd, and the genetic source for our son’s tresses, knew the indignity. “I’m going up there,” he said, grabbing his keys.

Well, the woman was “on break” when my hubby arrived demanding to know who cut the boy’s hair. He brought a school photo of my son to show them the pre-buzz splendor of the boys’ mane. They told him she’d be back in 10 minutes.

When he returned 15 minutes later, she was still conveniently not available. The manager, who I can only describe as a stubborn, prideful fool, defended the coif. “She ended up giving him three different haircuts,” she whined defensively, never offering so much as an “I’m sorry there was a misunderstanding,” much less showing any regret. She had obviously spoken with the stylist and prepared her lame rationale.

My husband, who lives and breathes graciousness and mercy in the best form of “the customer’s always right,” was incensed. He gave them what-for and verbally shook the dust off his sandals upon leaving.

How hard is it to say, “Sorry. We screwed up.” ? To offer the $16 back? Or offer a free cut (this would cost them nothing, since nary a strand of McHair will every pass through their wash basin again!). He knew she wasn’t to blame. What does an apology, offered on behalf of someone who’s hiding in the back, take away from the apologizer? NOTHING! And it goes so far in making the receiver feel a little better. Infuriating!

A few hours later, we all had a fine time verbally bashing this woman as we sat around the dinner table. And then my sweet, wonderful, kookie husband decided to show solidarity. He left the room for a few minutes and came back clean shaven.

I have known this man 25 years. Never seen his upper lip. And usually, not his chinny-chin-chin either.

All hilarity ensued, as my 18-year old was the first to notice. “What is happening to my family?” he exclaimed in mock horror, dramatically falling to his knees and burying his face in the couch.

“I can’t look at you!” exclaimed the newly bald one.

“I can’t stop looking at your upper lip!” I said, laughing.

“Maybe I’ll shave my legs,” said the 18-year-old.

“I’m getting a Brazilian tomorrow,” I said.

This stopped the laughter immediately.

“Too far, Mom,” someone yelled.

“Brazilian Blowout?” my husband offered.
I shrugged and we kept laughing, and settled in to an after dinner movie.

It’s only hair, right?