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News from the Nest: An involved rookie hockey mom

I've officially been a hockey mom for three months. There are a few things I have learned during this rookie year that I thought I would share.

First off, everyone warned me about how dangerous hockey was. I brushed it off, and then my son broke his arm on the third night. It wasn't really a hockey-related injury, other than the fact that it was during hockey practice, on the ice and he was dressed in his equipment.

Okay, okay, it was totally a hockey-related injury. But it turned out it wasn't from some fierce checking from another 5-year-old. Nope, a coach lost his balance and fell, stepping on my son's arm. Total accident that could've happened at the grocery store; or, at least, that is what I keep telling myself so I don't feel guilty for putting him in a dangerous sport at such a young age.

After numerous apologies from the coach and hockey board, a bright green cast, followed by a bright orange cast and some sleepless nights, he was back on the ice after a month. Looking at him now, you'd never know he broke his arm.

During my time at hockey practices and games, I've also realized that hockey is so much more than a sport for the child. I've already made many new friends by getting to know parents of my son's teammates. Although we are at the very basic level of play, I can definitely see how consumed parents can become in their child's activities.

Not only do the children spend a lot of time at practice and games, but the parents dedicate so much of their own time, as well. Already, I'm making sure the gear is all ready, his jersey is clean, he has the right undershirt and socks to wear for practice, and we have enough tape to keep his gear in place.

On Thursdays, I have to leave work early to get home, make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and then get the kids so we have ample time to load him up with food and gear before practice begins.

My favorite part is Saturday mornings, when I have the excuse to run over to Caribou Coffee and get lattes for my husband and I while we watch the morning game. I figure if I'm going to dedicate the next 20 years of my life to chauffeuring my kids around to different activities, I should be rewarded, too!

I've heard people criticize parents for being too caught up with their children's activities. I, for one, think that is what parenting is all about. Isn't that part of our job duties as a parent? Encouraging them to try new things and to help them figure out what they like and are good at? Being a support system for them along the way?

Don't get me wrong, some parents do take it a little too far. I guarantee my husband will be "that Dad" at some point in time. He'll probably stomp onto the baseball field in the middle of the game to scold my son for not hustling just like his dad did to him (true story).

And although some are quick to criticize, others are quick to commend. I'd rather be a parent overly involved in my children's lives, than one not involved at all.