Every Friday when I was the oldest muppets age my sister and I would go and watch my dad play hockey. He played on a fun league with a bunch of guys that had worked together, lived in the same neighbourhood, camped together and most of them had kids around the same age. We would start out in the cold arena watching the dads all play but soon more kids would come and we would be running around, making up games and having adventures on the snow piles outside the rink. Last week my mom made a suggestion that we go and watch papa play hockey on Tuesday. The oldest muppet was so excited and agreed that everyone should come and watch the game.
Now the muppets have seen hockey games in two places, the NHL channel on Apple TV and the Mall in Doha. So when I told the three of them to change from shorts in to jeans and to grab their hoodies the oldest muppet protested! I explained to him that ice rinks in Canada are cold and would be especially cold on a Tuesday during the summer when the heating in the viewing area would probably not be on. We arrived at rink and found the place where papa was playing. As we walked up in to the stands the muppets surveyed the place, “It is freezing in here!” Said the youngest. I laughed and told them that they were probably happy I made them change out of shorts. We sat down and searched the ice for papa. It wasn’t long before the oldest guy quickly spotted him as he skated out on the ice.
After a few goals by papa’s team the youngest muppet asked me who the players were on the ice, I told him that they were a bunch of papa’s friends and that I used to watch a lot of them play when I was little. “Then where is Wayne Gretzky Mama?” He asked “You and Daddy watched him when you were little so why isn’t he playing with Papa?” I laughed and explained that Wayne Gretzky didn’t live in Calgary and he probably played hockey on a different team and that he probably wasn’t in the same league as Papa.
5 goals, 2 runs to the candy machine and 6 hockey cards later we waited for the hockey players to be dressed. The middle guys said to me “That was fun mummy but I think they need an announcer and some one to work the score board next time.” The oldest guy hugged me and thanked me for taking him to the game, “That was fun mum, you were lucky that you got to watch Papa play hockey every week when you were little.” I agreed with him, the memories that we made at the hockey rink are some that I will always treasure.
In the fall the oldest muppet will make some memories of his own and join the hockey league in Doha, the rink will be warm and have a food court surrounding it but it will be his place to play.
Almost 3 weeks ago I took the suit cases down from the top of the cupboards with the intention of starting the summer packing process. The youngest muppet was so happy thinking that we were leaving the following day. I burst his bubble of joy telling him we still had three weeks until our plane left. Following that conversation there were a lot of tears, stamping of feet and yelling in between tears “Why like this!!!?” I helped him cope with his disappointment by setting up a count down on the fridge calendar, this was exciting for him because this year he was able to count past 10.
Every morning from that day on each muppet took turns at the breakfast table telling everyone what they were looking forward to doing when they arrived in Canada. I listened to their conversation as I sipped my coffee and smiled as they recalled all their favourite things about visiting for the summer. Food is always one of the top things, eggo waffles, maple syrup, cheese strings, ham and of course A&W were just some of the things they sat salivating over. They reminisced about riding their bikes down the bike paths, road trips to Grandmas, treasure hunts with Aunties and adventures with cousins. They laugh and giggled uncontrollably about funny memories with friends that we only get to see once a year, and talk excitedly about getting hugs from all their grandparents.
The last week of school flew by and was spent in a mad dash of packing, working and saying good bye to friends. Some we will see in August when we return and some will move on to other adventures. On the last day of school I was woken by the youngest muppet, his face was about an inch away from mine and he said “Mama, tomorrow we are going to Canada!!” I grabbed him and squeezed him tight and said “Yes, finally tomorrow we get to go to Canada!!” After two plane rides and a day of travel we arrived in Calgary and we were greeted by Nana, Papa, Auntie S, Uncle K and of course the rain. The boys were excited as they put on their new summer Canada jackets provided by my mother, they chatted about the plane ride and what they wanted to do when they got to the house. The middle guy wanted to go to the park and the oldest was only concerned about watching the last period of the hockey game. The youngest was unusually quiet, taking everything in as he walked to the car. We arrived at Nana and Papa’s house, the suit cases were brought in to the house and the muppets made their way down stairs to explore the toys that were left last summer.
I stood in the kitchen with my mom talking about what was going on for the next few days when the youngest muppet came up stairs carrying a book. “Nana” he said sweetly “Will you read a story to me?” My mother instantly melted to his whim and the two of them settled in to the reading chair and I took over making dinner. The two of them sat for a half hour the youngest guy running back and forth to the book basket getting a new book every time. I looked at the happiness on both of their faces and watched as the other two muppets sat comfortably on the couch with their Papa watching the Stanley Cup finals. Everyone was content and exactly where they wanted to be at that moment. We were finally back, our second home, our summer life and once the jet lag subsides the fun will begin. No more counting down days Canada we are here!