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Let me rephrase that. Being a parent gets harder as your kids get older.
Being a parent to an infant is easy. Feed them, change them, love them. Being a parent to a toddler is easy. Feed them, change them, love them, teach them basic stuff like words, colors, numbers, the alphabet. Being a parent gets harder when all of the sudden your toddler is seven years old. They are developing into their own little person, pushing boundaries and learning how to deal with stuff. They also want to play hockey because David Backes is now way cooler than dad. Well, not every seven year old, but this is where mine is.

Two years ago my son participated in the learn to play hockey program through our park district. It wasn’t his first time on the ice, but he had only been ice skating maybe once before. We spent a pretty penny to get him suited up and with some words of encouragement, sent him on his way.

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His first practice he spent more time on his butt than one his skates. He tried his damnedest and at the end of the practice he left the ice drenched in sweat and out of breath. When we asked how it was, he replied, “IT WAS AWESOME!” Here’s this little boy who spent an hour just learning how to get up when he fell, just to fall down again and repeat, who thought he was playing hockey just like his favorite St. Louis Blues players. As can be expected, he got better as the 12 week program progressed, but he still wasn’t a strong skater. Of course we didn’t tell him that.

Fast forward two years. Out of no where he wants to play hockey again. Mind you, he hasn’t stepped foot on the ice in those two years, our fault. Then again, how are we supposed to know he wants to play hockey if he doesn’t bring it up? Anyway, back to him wanting to play hockey again. We sign him up for a summer program, spend a ton of money again, and yesterday was his first session. I was a nervous wreck. All day. He’s getting to the age where he’s becoming more self conscious. He knows when other kids are better at stuff than he is and takes it pretty hard. My biggest fear was that he would be embarrassed. That he would be the older kid that couldn’t skate. That kids would make fun of him. I was more anxious about him playing hockey again than he was.

He finally got nervous as he was about to step on the ice. I helped him step over the threshold and got him positioned in a way that he had less of a chance to fall. He started skating, extremely slow and cautiously, but he was skating! It took him quite a while to get a quarter of the way around the rink, he fell a few times, but got up on the first try.

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His instructor skated over to him gave him a few adjustments and advice and he took off!

Now I’m relieved.

The instructor had him skating forwards, backwards, jumping, on one foot, spinning in circles, and he could do all of it!

Now I’m excited!

He had a blast and can’t wait until next week’s session. I am a proud papa!

What does this have to do with beer? Nothing. I just felt like sharing a great experience.

Until next time…

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