Observations on a motor bike journey
Have you ever wondered exactly how and when a dream begins?
At what moment, do we say: I want to be a doctor, a writer, or a hockey player, and really, truly believe in our heart of hearts, that is indeed who we will become?
And who believes with a deep rooted faith that is lost to many? Kids, that’s who.
Kaitlyn Melitta Young started playing hockey when she was five years old.
Now from the get-go, when she was on the ice, she gave it her all. She followed instructions carefully, always trying every move suggested, by the various coaches and parents who found their way on to the ice. But, if she was to be truthful, as most children tend to be, when she was away from the rink, her heart did not dwell on when she would return. And, if she was to open up, say to her Mom, as she normally did when unsure, she’d like to whisper her secret and tell her that maybe, just maybe, she laced up her skates every weekend, mainly to please her Dad.
Don’t get me wrong, Kaitlyn had been watching hockey since she was born—truly!—and she did enjoy the sport. Best of all, she loved teasing her Dad, by loudly cheering for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s instead of his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs; however the fact was, she didn’t dream about playing hockey.
Kaitlyn knew, as only the very young know, that who you will become, begins to take shape in your dreams. Problem was, no matter how hard she wished for it, there were no hockey players emerging from the clouds of her sleep.
The winter of 2016, when Kaitlyn was the ripe old age of six, everything began to change.
First off, she joined the all girls hockey team, The Clarington Flames in her hometown of Bowmanville, Ontario. She started watching the older girls on her new team intently, she started watching and learning. Kaitlyn began to look forward to the early practices and games, and suddenly, it was she who was telling her parents to hurry up, on those cold mornings when the stars hung clean and fresh in the sky.
And most importantly, her Dad took her one day, on an outing to Toronto, to watch her first game of the Canadian Women’s Hockey league (CWHL), featuring the Toronto Furies against the Boston Blades.
The Blades, being the visitors, had next to no one sitting on their side of the bleachers. Kaitlyn immediately decided to sit herself right there, amongst the empty seats, for she wanted to be their Number One fan for the day. Very soon, she caught a few waves and smiles from the young women on the team. As they warmed up, the goalie, Genevieve Lacasse, tossed one of their pucks over the glass to Kaitlyn.
Not long into the game, she positioned herself near the stairs, so she could run down the
steps and high five the Blades as they came off and on the ice.
After the game, the coach invited Kaitlyn to join them in their change room. As they sat together, they talked to her about their love of hockey; they spoke as if they’d known her
forever, as if she was one of the team. While they chatted, her puck, the one from Genevieve, was passed around, busily gathering all the signatures from each of the players.
That night, after waiting for so very long, Kaitlyn spotted her new friends skating with her amongst the curtains of her dreams.
And so it begins.
Kaitlyn began corresponding, through her Dad’s twitter account, with the Boston Blades. Her parent’s purchased a jersey with Sadie St Germain’s name and number on it, which was proudly displayed on the wall of her bedroom, near the treasured puck. After sending out pictures on Twitter, she was thrilled when Sadie replied with a picture of her own, showing her newly altered Number 5 jersey, with Kaitlyn’s name now replacing Sadie’s.
Her intensity continued, as she watched every minute she could, as Tara Watchorn, the Captain of the Boston Blades, played for Team Canada, during the Women’s World Championship.
Kaitlyn’s admiration for the team has not faltered, and she continues to keep in touch with The Blades via Twitter. It’s her account now really, this she was forced to explain patiently to her Dad. Her Blades, her friends.
Now, when she plays mini hockey stick in the basement of her home, she pretends to be first Sadie, then Genevieve, then Tara. She’s not playing alone any longer; she’s playing with her mentor team.
Dreams begin with the help of others. Mentors, and role models alike, plant the seeds of belief, and encourage the aspirations of the young, with regular care and attention, the growth is amazing! And so too are these women from the Boston Blades, who took the time out of their busy schedules to interact with my granddaughter, Kaitlyn.
They, I do believe, are the catalyst for her dreams to be.
It’s wonderful to see what can happen, when someone takes the time to show you the way. The after-effects will stretch far and wide, and I believe in the future, Kaitlyn will pay it forward.
…a fun story.
Blood seeps into the ground and I wonder how much more it can take, this world of ours.
The men cry, and the women weep, their sorrow dragging the wind down to whip their hearts until they too bleed.
Blood for blood, we grieve together.
The past rears its head, pushing slowly through the red earth.
There it is, the black hole of hate, wide and deep, it grows again.
And I am afraid.
One day I ventured forth…
…I was brave, and I was determined.
Oh, the stories I had heard, those stories, those wonderful stories—they carried me ever forward, but my strength she was not there and I failed.
Let me begin afresh…
Once upon a time, a day opened before me and I felt invincible, as if all my fear had been banished. That is the moment I remembered the stories: The right bra can do wonders for both your appearance and your self esteem. Get thee to a professional fitter. And finally Oprah’s input: Do your boobs hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? You need to rise up and get a proper fitting.
Rise up! Rise up! Join me in this cry, my sisters!
So I ventured forth.
Going into a change room can be, and usually is, a very excruciating process. I strongly believe that the women’s fitting rooms, like the cubicles that contain us at work, were designed by a man.
The moment you enter the room, you feel trapped, your throat constricts, your mouth goes dry, and you begin to gag as you notice how the lighting brings out only the worst in you, on you, around you. Lovely. Just lovely.
Do I really need a new bra? Do I? Is it worth the pain?
I continued on, clutching little bits of my confidence close.
I entered the fitting room, my heart open for a change.
The sales woman assigned to my case was a woman of substance; she filled the room with her feminine size and confidence. Her skin was the colour of a sought after chocolate sundae and her bosom was encased in, I’m sure, an official Oprah approved brassiere. How could anyone, much less me, doubt her?
She approached me without an ounce of discomfort. Examining my form with new bra attached, she quickly took control of the situation. Slipping her hand inside the bra, she efficiently positioned my girls into their respective cups.
“ Whoa,” I said.
“There,” she said.
We both looked in the mirror.
I’d like to say I heard the music, that I experienced a transformation. I really would.
But I would be lying.
The wide shoulder straps looked like seatbelts snapping me firmly in place, the lace netting embracing the front, reminded me of a sagging, soon to be replaced fishing net.
I thought of the terror I could inflict merely by hanging such a garment outside on the clothes line. A light summer breeze would—pardon the pun—give lift to the cups, allowing them to draw in an abundance of air, thereby initiating flight like a monstrous bird of prey. Its black shadow, exaggerated by height, would sweep over the fence, its tendrils reaching far and wide into the unsuspecting neighhood.
Brave boys, always curious, as boys tend to be, would sit atop the fence, their eyes wide with alarm, and a touch of disappointment, as the netting billowed and puffed.
“I thought,” one would stammer.
“…it would be like in the magazines,” finished the other softly. “But it’s not. It’s not at all.”
“Okay,” I squeaked.
I should have asked for a backbone while I was at it.
Why do I tell you this tale? Well, it’s time, my friends…to go shopping again.
Wish me luck.
Note: Thank you to http://thegraphicsfairy.com/ for the picture perfect illustration.
The beginning, for me, is a New Year, a new outlook. It’s a process of growth, a slow and steady progression towards a stronger soul, a stronger me.
Reflection is there at the beginning, splendid in its peak at the approach, or arrival, of fresh days ahead. Doors in my mind, and in my heart, are flung open, as I eagerly view the newly minted months stretching out before me. They are pressed clean these new months, their surface blemish free and unmarred by disappointment in self.
It can be a time of renewal.
I rather like the fact that the New Year leads directly into my Birthday month. Such celebrations, first Christmas, then the New Year, and then me. What better time to review!
Every year I am presented with, I treasure, trying always to give it the reverence it deserves.
I don’t always succeed.
Unchecked emotions, usually peppered liberally with fear, mark the pristine months I leave in my wake.
I can be—no, I am—my own worst enemy.
The months no longer whisper as they pass me by, perhaps they’ve grown weary of telling secrets to one who never listens. I should, no, I need, to pay more attention.
I lift my eyes, I’ve grown tired of examining the endless details of my worries, and there it is! I have reached Birthday number 59.
I have soft wrinkles on the underbelly of my arms now. They remind me of tiny waves skimming across the surface of a pond. The backs of my hands are spotted here and there, and those I can no longer claim as freckles. All not a surprise, but an adjustment.
I remind myself it is an honour to step towards my sixties. There are many who did not have this opportunity of age, and they too I want to honour.
It is a time of action. It is not too late.
So, I lean down and eagerly set about removing the chains that have anchored me.
I must guard my time selfishly. I must begin my work in earnest.
“I am going to change my life. I am going to do something that is important to me.” -Paulo Coelho
When is it that we forget how to dream?
When does that exact moment occur, when we look forward without first sending our dreams before us like trusted guides to follow? I like to think never, but I would be lying.
Dreams came easy when cloaked with the optimistic attitude of the young. Even during the tumultuous, ‘will I ever survive’ times of youth, dreams, aspirations of success, and possibilities bubbled through my mind, overflowing easily into my everyday life. Optimism whispered always to keep pushing, keep looking forward. The call was to chase those dreams, go after them with all you’ve got. Having those dreams to follow, told you that anything really, truly was possible.
But somewhere along the way, my dreams started to weaken, to fade into memories as opposed to possibilities. I can’t quite pinpoint when I started to mentally shelf first one then the other. I don’t know the instance when I felt too weary to push a particular aspiration forward. I wonder if soon, when I pause to peer back through the years, will I see, and recognize the litter of my dreams scattered and forgotten behind me?
I need to keep on, keep on dreaming, keep on pushing, because it is only when we turn away do dreams die.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I like dreaming.
The innocence, the trust, with these words I see a child.
I sat in the early morning hours watching my six year old Granddaughter’s hockey practice. Watched as the players gathered around their coaches like trusting little baby birds.
They pointed at their water bottles, the hockey gloves too cumbersome to grab the plastic bottles, the finger dexterity not there as yet to unscrew the tops loose themselves; instead they stood, heads tilted back, their faces lifted, partially hidden behind their protective helmet grill, open and trusting they asked and were received. Slowly the coaches went down the line, offering the Eucharist of hockey as they gently pour tiny swallows of water into each opened mouth before them.
The kids know Mom and Dad are nearby in the stands, there are no worries thickening the air. The coaches offer wise words and skate like pros; the children emit naturally an openness that says: You will protect me. You will not hurt me.
The trust is heart wrenching in its stripped bare innocence.
When searching for the magic that is hidden in the folds of everyday life, this is what your eyes should seek, this is what your heart should wish to recognize once again. Our purity of soul becomes pressed thin with the weight and responsibilities of our passing years; it’s an honour to be reminded once again of its presence.
To open my heart,
To refresh my spirit,
To awaken my soul,
And to remind myself that sometimes I have to let go.