The Last Hockey Drive: Rediscovering Gratitude and Courage for a Brave New World

 

This picture was taken on March 1, the last time I drove the boys to hockey before quarantine started. In this photo, I’m all smiles. But to be honest, I wasn’t happy.

 

I remember that morning well:

I was complaining because we had to wake up early. I was complaining because I didn’t feel like spending another weekend stuck at the rink watching the boys, eating rink food, talking “hockey”, and I wasn’t even looking forward to returning home because I had so much laundry piled up and dishes in the sink and I knew that’s what awaited me. So I complained about that too. I complained because I knew that on the way home I had to stop at the grocery store to buy food for the week, and that meant meal prepping that night. I complained because when the boys should have been brushing their teeth and feeding the dog that morning so we could get out the door on time, I caught them sneaking candy that my mother had given them earlier that week when she spent her usual Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s at my house. I was angry that she undermined me (yet again) by giving them junk food. I shouted, “I don’t want Gramm coming here anymore. That’s it! I’m done!”

 

Little did I know that just a few days after this particular morning, the world would come to a halt and we would be in quarantine.

 

And now, it’s been 57 days since I drove to hockey, 46 days since I last drove anywhere—I haven’t been in my car at all in 46 days! I miss driving. I miss the feeling of getting into my car, putting on the music that I love, and heading out onto the wide open road (ha! it’s usually driving to work or to school or to the grocery store) but some days a simple drive to anywhere is enough to clear my busy anxious mind, help me make decisions, and help me to feel calmer and happier.

 

I miss going to hockey. I miss watching my boys do what they love. I miss the conversations with the parents who have become like family. I even miss the rink’s chicken wings (hey, at least someone else was cooking for them. And they’re baked, not fried. They’re healthy!)

 

I miss driving to work. I miss the scenic drive as I cross the border from CT to NY. I miss passing the horse farms, the stunning trees and flowers, the streams and rivers, and old bridges. And when I arrived, to a place that was my second home, I always felt excited to usher in a new day. My work isn’t work. It’s my life calling. My passion. My mission. And I always feel so deeply honored to be a part of each client’s journey. My clients have become a part of my family. And even though many of them Zoom with me now, it’s not the same as being with them in person. I truly miss giving them a hug and being in their physical presence. I miss sitting in circle and created sacred physical space together and dancing and singing and talking, in person. I’m really missing it all.

 

I miss my office, with its warmth and spa-like tranquility. My office has become a sanctuary for me. I miss the quiet yet comforting energy of the space. I miss the smell of essential oils and candles burning (they smell different at home). I miss the way the sun makes the rooms glow. I miss the moments when me and my colleagues gathered in the hallway and laughed while we chatted about this or that in between clients.

 

I miss trips to the local grocery store. Walking in each day, greeting the workers by name, and them greeting me by name and with a smile. Chatting with the workers while I walked around filling my cart with healthy food for my family. Chatting some more while on the checkout line. It feels really good to be in a place where everyone knows your name.

 

I miss driving the boys to school. Turning in to the stunning campus, driving over the rustic wooden bridge over a stream, seeing the big red barn, watching the students walk about the campus, waving to kids, parents, teachers, stopping to talk to this one or that one. And breathing a sigh of relief knowing that my kids were in the hands of the best teachers a mom could ask for. And though I sometimes sneak into the background while the boys are in their virtual classrooms, and I sneak a wave into the computer camera, it’s not the same.

 

And my mother...well... I haven’t seen my mother in 54 days and I miss her—all of her—-terribly. And she misses us too. She calls me and cries. She lives for me and my boys. I would give anything for her to come over, cook her usual Tuesday night chicken cutlets, I’d even let her give the kids tons of candy! Because none of that actually matters. Especially when my anxious mind has created scenarios such as “what if she gets the virus and dies and the last time I saw her I was yelling at her for spoiling her grandchildren?”

 

And I miss my friends and family —the ones who I haven’t actually seen in a long time—even prior to the quarantine. And I didn’t see them often because of always being busy. Between work and the kids sports schedules and life. Everything else was a priority. And sometimes it had to be. But not always. We always have choices.

 

As I write this, my tears flow, not really for all that I am missing now. Rather, for the realization of all that I was missing out on even while I was still in it. I was bulldozing through my life, busy being busy, complaining about all the things I HAD to do. Not seeing all the things I GOT to do. Privilege. It’s all a privilege—that I get to drive a car; that my kids get to play hockey; that I get to live in this amazing town; that I get to shop at a local organic market; that I get to work doing what I’m passionate about at a center that I got to create in an office space that I get to call mine; that I get to send my kids to an awesome school with a community that has become like family; that I get to have a mother who sacrifices her time to help me so that I can work; and my kids get to have a grandmother who loves them and spoils them the way a grandparent should; that I GET to have friends and family who love me unconditionally even when it’s been years since we have seen each other.

 

I GET to have all of these things. And I have taken them for granted. And there are so many other things. I could write this post all day. And that’s what makes me sad.

 

I’d love to say that when quarantine is over, and we are back out in the world, that I will never complain about any of this ever again. But that would likely be a lie. I’m sure I’ll get sick of driving all over the world for hockey, yet again. And I’m sure I’ll complain that my mother gave the kids candy, again.

And the stuff I’m complaining about while in quarantine (are these kids really eating, AGAIN????!!!!) will still be there. But the one thing I will be doing differently, is taking a moment each day to find gratitude for all of it. ‘I’m Frustrated to drive to hockey AND I’m grateful I get to do this for my kids. I’m angry that my mother baked cookies for the kids, AND I’m so grateful to have her in our lives.’

 

And I pray that I have the courage to step out of the rat race that life had become, to slow down, to let go of the things and people that no longer serve my highest good; to purge the physical and metaphorical clutter from my life; to live simply; to spend time with friends and family; and to also spend time alone cultivating a relationship with myself and with nature. I want to go back to basics—-living a sacred life, ceremoniously, rediscovering the magic in the mundane. I’m ready to make big changes.

 

I pray for the strength to create the life I truly desire-the one that’s been waiting for me, rather than the one I think I need to have. I’ve never been able to fit in to this world, because I wasn’t meant to. I am meant to change it.

 

So, I pray that as I forge ahead, I do so courageously, authentically, gratefully, and unapologetically. That’s what the world needs from me, from all of us—a massive dose of truth, beauty, and love.

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