Operation Canadian Tuxedo - 1/2 Day One

The week we have been dreading since Steve took his new position is upon us. He left this afternoon for a week of training in Canada. It was probably best that the kids and I weren't there when his car service came to collect him. The tears in the car as we drove off to Caroline's final hockey session were enough. The moment my feet released the brake on the car and we rolled back, Caro was in near hysterics. To his credit, Steve had handled it well; pulling them each aside to talk individually, reassuring them, and requesting that they both be good helpers.

As I said, we have been anticipating this week for over a month now. I've had time to plan and prepare a strategy. Enter "Operation Canadian Tuxedo." It's a plan of distraction and I'm okay with it. I think I'm actually one of the distractees as well.

Today was 1/2 Day One of the Operation which neither of the children can pronounce, yet. Not only did we leave the house on time for hockey, but I also managed to keep Connor safe while simultaneously getting Caroline's skates appropriately tight and tied. She had fallen asleep in the car on the ride over and when she grumpily hmmpphh'd me as I snapped her helmet straps, I questioned her about if she was just too tired. "No, I want to go on the ice!" Oh, ok then. Snap. Snap. Snap. She skated out there with such confidence, stick in hand (seriously, amazing), and had the best session of her entire three session season. She hopped on command, spun on whistle, skated fast, caught her coach during "catch the coach," and I swear to you when they tossed the pucks on the ice and she started kicking it with her skate blade, I nearly fell over. I thought this was the pinnacle of the lesson until I watch slack jawed as she passed a puck back and forth with her favorite High School Helper friend, good ol' #20. Connor cheered for her, yelling to her on the ice, not realizing the glass was in the way. His sister had a puck, what could ever be more cool, and she was his hero. And Steve missed it. It wasn't fair. When it was all over, I collected her from the ice and gave her the biggest high five and set out with the next challenge; removal of hockey equipment and exit strategy.

While I wrestled with tape on her socks, her coach came over and tapped her shoulder, "You did such a great job today, I'm so proud of you." I thanked him for all his efforts and commended him on the strides the kids have taken this session, "She is a joy, truly." And Steve missed it. And it still wasn't fair, but it doesn't change the amazing transformation we have seen since October. She could barely skate in the fall and she was out there today with a stick and a puck. Unreal. We'll see how she feels about going back when fall rolls around again.

My plan for the rest of the afternoon depended on the mood in the car on the way home and when she was energized and feeling good, we took option A and headed to the playground at the school she will attend next fall. We haven't been yet because it is across town (I know, all the way across town, ha!) and that made it all the more special. They raced around, held hands on the slide, and twirled together on the tire swing. If it had not been for a bathroom emergency, we would have been there until right before dinner, but we made a swift departure when "I don't have to go" turned into "I have to go right now!" She was so impressed that it only took a few minutes to get home, which I hope will only add to the allure of kindergarten.

I have some fun things planned for the time Steve is in Canada. I know that many people (hi Auntie) do this all the time and I reminded myself of that in all my panicked preparations. I don't think any of us are looking forward to this week, no matter how many fun little things I plan, but we are making the best of it to get us through. The week has to be about more than just surviving. We all deserve more than just getting by, Steve included.

(this is from tonight's goodnight facetime session)

I'll be detailing the results of Operation Canadian Tuxedo as we go. I hope you will join us, actual Canadian tux optional.

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