Another typical evening at the Gard household. Everyone going off in different directions. And so it was immediately upon finishing supper that we all left home together, half of us going in one direction and half in the other. As my regular Thursday evening activity was cancelled, I was given the rare and exquisite privilege to accompany one child to the sporting extra-curricular activity of their choosing for the fall/winter season. One child, and only one. So this is what that was like again. It’s been a long time since I was quarantined in a van taking a road trip with only one. Tonight’s line-up: minor hockey. As my son’s first hockey game of the season happened to be this evening, the two of us set out in high spirits on a windy, rainy pitch-black night, heading toward our rink destination in a neighboring community.
Normally, at this time of the evening, I am fried. Mentally, physically and verbally burnt out. Tonight was no exception. I was struggling to stay awake for the forty minutes it took to get to the rink. I knew in my heart that this ‘one-on-one time’ would potentially be a great conversation op, but fatigue was getting the best of me. I turned the heater on and then off again. And after a few quick conversation starters, I told my son I was getting tired. The radio needed to come on. Thankfully, that got him a little more concerned for both of our well-beings. So, he started talking more. And I began to wake up. As time got on, and we got closer to the rink, my son started to worry that we might not arrive at the rink with enough leeway for him to get his gear on and debrief before the game.
Nonplussed, I also tried to appear the nonchalant mother that I was pretending to be. So I told Son, as he pressed me for info every five seconds, that yes, we were nearing the turn-off. And of course we were nearing the turn-off. I just wasn’t exactly sure how near or far away we were. Precisely speaking. Being as I was not exactly sure of my directions. And also keeping in mind, it was a dark, rainy night.
Son was desperately wanting to get to that rink and fast. And I was tired of him asking where the turn-off was for the road leading to the rink. So I mentally decided that I would turn right at whatever road served my memory well, lining up with my recollections of what might possibly be the right turn-off for our rink date. And in my mind, at this place in time, this actually seemed like a good idea.
So the very next road that we passed, I flicked on my blinkers and turned right. Turning down a road that looked about right. Or so I thought. True, there were a few houses that might have lined up with my vague memories of a road I’d traveled before. Or did they really? Was this just wishful thinking on my part?
But of course it was. And I digress…
We were now late for the pre-game dress room pep talk along with the mildly disturbing fact that I knew we were traveling a road that might or might not be the right one to take us to the rink. My son looked over at me and said nervously, “It would suck if this wasn’t the right road. What if this is not the right road, Mom?” And being the competent driver that I am, I avoided eye contact and kept looking straight ahead at the slick, black road. Watching the road for tell-tale signs that we were on the right track. Then using my most convincing voice, I told him this: “I think this is the right road.”
Famous.last.words. Out of how many mouths have those words poured forth. I now count myself with the masses.
Long story short, we ended up in a potato field where I did a u-turn, praying that I might not end up stuck in the mud somewhere out of cell range. Oh wait. I don’t have a working cell phone anymore. So, I guess it really wouldn’t matter, now would it? Does bad luck just follow me around, or what?
Once we got back to the main road, I realized it was actually the very next road that turned right that was the correct turn-off to take us to the rink. Ah, yeeeeesss. And I must say that when I saw the sparkling lights of the community ice rink at which Son was to play his first hockey game of the season, my heart issued a leap of joy quite unlike any other act of joyfulness I have experienced for quite some time. Because I had finally arrived at the right place. The lost had been found. And I because I was at the right rink, even with being a little late, I knew I was also halfway home to Mill River.
And for me, that was half the battle fought. In spite of the rain, the wind and the unfamiliar roads we’d be traveling, the ride home would be a cinch.