In light of all that’s going on, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mom and Dad. They raised nine kids in a four-bedroom home. We were never wealthy and I know they lived paycheck to paycheck. We didn’t go to restaurants or go south on vacations. Most of our fun was spent in our own home interacting with each other. My Mom was a “stay-at-home Mom,” and I always thought it was so mean when she’d make us go outside every day regardless of the weather. I bet right now, there are many of you that can sympathize and long for the days that sending your kids outside wasn’t an issue. Although the current circumstances are much more serious, the way we are being asked to live is reminding me of the way I grew up.
A very vivid memory of those days was of a day my brothers decided to make their own fun in our living room. Despite many warnings from my mother, they used to love to make tape balls and used them to play hockey. They probably only had one good tennis ball for road hockey so they had to make tape balls for indoor play. I used to think that by the time my parents paid for all of that tape they could have had a case of tennis balls.
My brothers used to play indoor hockey on their knees in our basement. The basement had cement floors with one of those big round area rugs. The kind that looked like coloured rope wrapped in a circle. It was rough to the touch and impossible to vacuum. Even though it was tough on the knees, my brothers used to play for hours downstairs.
One Sunday, my brothers decided to move the game from the basement to the living room. Dad had claimed the tv downstairs and kicked them out. Mom was making supper in the kitchen and putting out her best dishes as she always did for Sunday supper. The boys came upstairs, tape ball in hand and ready to play hockey on their knees in the living room. The lighting was better, the rug was more comfortable and the coffee table in the living room made for a perfect net. As soon as she saw them parading into the living room she warned them within an inch of their life not to break anything, especially the blue vase my Dad gave her. She loved it and would always say it was the one nice thing she had in the house. They promised her and swore up and down they’d move it so it couldn’t possibly be at the mercy of their tape ball. There was a wall between the living room and kitchen so Mom couldn’t see what they were doing, she could only hear their nonsense.
The game began and so did the noise. Within moments the tape ball took on a life of its own and headed right for Mom’s vase and, with a smash, it fell to the floor and then…silence. Not knowing what to do, the boys took off upstairs to their room. At the time there was three of them to the bedroom and they all were hiding in there. Mom came to the living room and saw her blue vase in pieces on the floor. She was so mad that she flew up the stairs after them. By the time she reached their room she was crying. I know spanking is frowned upon, but at that time, if we’d gone too far my mom would spank us and never look back. Even though they were in their teens, she was so upset she didn’t care. She slapped each of them on the arm and walked out of the room tears streaming down her face.
To this day, the boys say they were pretty sure their arms were glowing, but the worst part was seeing the tears rolling down her face. Since that day, that story has been told a hundred times and each brother involved has a different version.
I can’t help but think that when all of this social isolation has ended, many of you will have your own stories to tell. For my Mom, as much as the chaos used to drive her crazy, she remembers those moments with a smile on her face.
I hope in these anxious times you’ve had some family moments with or without hockey that have made you smile and brought you back to what’s important: good health and good family moments. And, for some, good hockey moments as well. Stay healthy!
- Written by Allyson Tufts