A (mostly) Wonderful Family Affair

My brother was Tournament Director for a high school hockey tournament at a local private school last weekend.

My father was a Scorekeeper on one of the two rinks. He scored games on Friday evening, for 17 hours on Saturday and then for the last games on Sunday.

His lovely wife Jannie and I sold tickets at the admission tables. She worked a table from 6:30am until nearly 11pm on Saturday. I worked a morning/afternoon shift on Saturday and Sunday.

My brother?  He was at the ice rink for the most of the weekend. Doing his thing…

We worked together; counting money, taking tickets, organizing supplies for the restrooms, locating the trainer, directing teams into locker rooms. It was impressive that we laughed about our quirks and didn’t lose patience (or our tempers) with each other.

On Saturday, I learned that Jannie counts money slowly. VERY slowly and methodically…(If I had money, I would for sure want her to count and keep track of it.)

On Sunday, I arrived at the rink at the crack of dawn. Because that’s when hockey games start.

When I got to my post, my brother was in my seat. I asked for my chair. He kindly pointed to a storage closet across the lobby. I trudged to the closet and dragged a chair back to my work table, picking my way through clusters of parents. Chivalry was dead. Or not awake at 6:30 am?

Brother said nothing to me. He was in his duffel bag, looking for what? I had no idea. Most people have some sort of system, possibly a clipboard to hold important documents.  Not my brother. He had a red duffel bag stuffed with files, stray (crumpled) papers and only God knows what else…

Me: Do you have a time sheet in that thing?

Brother still hadn’t addressed me directly. He was distracted and mumbling.

Brother:  I can’t find my keys.

More mumbling as he felt his pockets and more papers fell out of his duffel bag.  I’d only been on the job 5 minutes, but I knew I was NOT giving him my time sheet.

Brother: Dad must have them.

Me: Huh?

Brother: Go over there (his hand waved vaguely in the air…) and see if he has them.

Me: Okay.

Brother: Dad is SUCH an airhead, sometimes.

Me:  Dad isn’t looking for HIS keys.

I meandered through a maze of doors, out into the ice rink and looked for my Dad. (Scorekeepers sit next to the Penalty Box, which is between the team benches.) By the time I got back, Brother had the elusive set of keys.

Where were they? Hanging around his neck on a lanyard.

My brother headed off to take care of business. Which was a nice break for me?  Or would have been if my brother didn’t have a Walkie Talkie. Whoever gave it to him needed slapped.

Static…static…and more static…

Brother: When the other game is over, get The Guy to give you his money.

Me: Okay.

Brother: There’s nobody in the front office, but there’s a Guy who will open it.

Me: Huh?  Who IS The Guy and what is getting opened?

The response???


Some time passed. Then Brother’s voice came over my Walkie Talkie…

Brother: Get The Guy to find the trainer.

Me: Huh?

Brother: We need The Trainer in rink two.

Me: Where IS The Trainer?

Brother: I think she was in rink one handling a bloody nose.


It wasn’t long before I wondered why in the he#& I had a Walkie Talkie. Why not give one to The Trainer? And maybe they tried, but she declined. Which I understand. Believe me, I do.

The Guy had a Walkie Talkie. And thank goodness for it. He floated about like a ghost. I never saw this mysterious Guy, but Brother contacted him via Walkie Talkie. I know this because of all the static I heard…

Their biggest problem?  Me.


Followed by noise from the Walkie Talkie.

Me: Hello

Brother: Maintenance?

Me: No, it’s me.

Brother: I need maintenance…

Me: Okay.

We played this game many times. Brother lost patience early on.

I was sort of amused for a while. But by the end of the day, I wanted to shove the Walkie Talkie up…well, I won’t say where.

At noon, Dad stopped by my table on his break.

Dad: Did you hear him (Brother) announcing in there?

Me: No.

Dad: He sounded GOOD. He’s great at talking.

I nodded…

Dad: But it’s ALL talk.

He walked away laughing…

Toward the end of the day, I needed to find my brother.


Me: Hello? Hello?

Brother: WHAT?

Me: Where are you?

Brother: Getting ready to cut the ice.

Stunned silence on my end for a few seconds…

Me: YOU are going to cut the ice?


Apparently, these people hadn’t seen my brother drive a car. I pictured the Zamboni skidding across the ice and smashing through a wall. As the Zamboni rolled onto the ice, I said a prayer of thanks that my brother was NOT aboard the thing!!

Overall, this weekend was a beautiful thing. We had a great family bonding weekend. Shared many laughs. And worked well together.

Which is a REALLY good. Because I just found out that there are THREE more hockey tournaments next month.

In another couple of weeks, we’ll be gathered at the rink again. I am planning to brush up on the lyrics  of  “Hail, Hail, the Gangs All Here!”  That way I can sing it to my Brother over the Walkie Talkie. He should really, really like that.

How Badly am I Screwing up my Children?


When my children were toddlers, I often checked them while they slept. They looked so sweet snuggled up in their blankets. So peaceful and innocent. In those moments, I was overcome by a joy that defies words or explanation.

That joy was quickly followed by paralyzing fear as I wondered, “How much did I screw them up today?”

There are still days I ponder how damaging it is for my children to grow up with me as their mother. Right now, they are teenagers. They (still) love me. Or at least I think they do!

But they haven’t begun to process their childhoods yet. That happens later, when they are grown and moved out of my home—possibly married and raising children of their own. That is when the darts start flying.

I THINK I have done a decent job in parenting my children. I know that was my intention. And that I tried (really, really hard) to be a good mother. But I will need to wait many more years before I find out what those two really think of my parenting methods.  In 15 years, at a random family gathering (such as Thanksgiving), I see it going something like this…

Darling Daughter: “Mom, why did you ALWAYS sell my furniture?”

I’ll be a sitting duck. Blindsided at the dinner table, fork halfway to my mouth, barely able to remember her furniture.

Then, it will slowly come back to me…

Just a couple of weeks ago, the kids and I traveled to Virginia to visit family for Christmas. We arrived in Leesburg, Virginia on Christmas day. After unloading the car, we all sat down to catch up.

As we chatted, I dragged out my laptop because I hadn’t checked my emails or eBay sales  for the day. We had been on the road for six hours.

Darling Daughter:  I LIKE my dresser. I really don’t want you to sell it, Mom.

Me:  (feeling the Christmas spirit) You can keep the Dresser. If you really like it, I won’t sell it.

Darling Daughter: Thanks, Mom.

I glanced down at my eBay summary page…

Me: Whoops, I spoke to soon. Your dresser sold today. And it’s already paid for. Sorry.

My side of the story: I purchased the dresser at an estate sale and always planned to re-sell it. It made sense to put it in my daughter’s room, for her to use it until I did so. She HATED the dresser at first. To me, the dresser was inventory.

Darling Daughter’s side of the story: She did hate the dresser at first, but then grew to like it—especially when I painted her room and added other dark wood furniture.

I certainly didn’t know she developed an attachment to the damned dresser. Otherwise, I would have removed it from my eBay Store listings. So now I am the cold-hearted mother that sold her daughter’s favorite dresser. And if it isn’t her favorite dresser yet, it will be by the time she has children and gets to tell the story!!

Nothing I can do. The dresser sold.

Luckily, I had a spare dresser in the garage. On deck, waiting to be stained and ‘prettied’ up–and I made quick work of the task. I wanted to make my daughter happy, as much as I wanted the ‘neat’ stacks of clothing on her bedroom floor put away.

Because I routinely buy and sell furniture, I do keep ‘spares’ around. Sort of like people keep extra toothbrushes for guests…

Me: You know…I think I like this dresser even better than the one that just sold.

Darling Daughter:  So do I.

We both stood smiling, looking at her ‘new’ dresser. Kind of having a ‘warm’ and ‘fuzzy’ mother/daughter moment.

Darling Daughter: Does that mean you are going to sell THIS one, too?

Oh boy, I am going to take a beating around that Thanksgiving table down the road…

No doubt about it.

I see my future. But for now, ignorance is bliss. I am keeping my illusions. I will continue giving this ‘parenting’ thing my best efforts each day, until the children burst my bubble later on. It’s really all I can do.