Buckle Up for a Bumpy Ride

NHL officials huddle
Our family needs one of these huddles this morning. (image from http://www.flickr.com)

When teaching my kids to appreciate a new sport, I always try to find some small detail of the game that might otherwise go unnoticed and get them to focus on it. I figure that if they can master a few small details, they can use it as a basis from which an interest can grow.

I thought such an approach would appeal to Ryan’s meticulous nature, but it works with Riley as well.

In football, I taught Ryan that the referee wears a different color hat, and where the first-down markers are. In baseball, I showed Riley how the catcher runs downs the first-base line to back up the play on a ground ball. In our early days with hockey, I pointed out to both of them how the four officials — two referees and two linesmen — huddle together just before the opening faceoff of every game.

It’s not a handshake and it’s not a full conversation, but they acknowledge each other, put their hands in, and (I imagine) wish each other luck before heading to their assigned spots to begin the game.

We need one of those huddles in my family this morning.

Sometimes you have those days where you just know things are going to be difficult before you ever get out of bed. Today is one of those days. Ryan’s sleep has not been good lately. Last night was particularly poor. He woke us up several times. Veronica bore the brunt of it, and barely got any sleep herself. She and I are both facing difficult days at work. It looks like a looooooong day ahead.

With Ryan, everything flows from good sleep. If he doesn’t sleep, it magnifies all his other issues, from hyperactivity, to focus, his facial twitch, or just general behavior. With us, lack of sleep saps our patience when it is needed most. For Ryan, fatigue has combined with anxiety to create a Nemo-like Frankenstorm. Lack of sleep ramps up anxiety. He is anxious about not sleeping.

If we could huddle like those NHL refs, I would hope we could look at each other, acknowledge that it’s going to be a difficult day, and promise to each try our best to mitigate the adversity that is likely coming our way.

Today is a day we need to take deep breaths before reacting out of anger, but lack of sleep has left fuses shortened.

Mother Nature is even in on the joke it seems. The weekend’s foot-plus of snow is being drenched by a steady downpour, turning streets and sidewalks into a slushy mess. Ryan’s bus was a few minutes late as a result — something he struggles to handle on the best of days.

He has a long day of school, followed by a doctor’s appointment that is likely to be a waste of time due to his extreme fatigue.

Some days, good and bad, catch you by surprise. Some you can see coming from a mile away. We just have to buckle up and hang on and hope for a better night’s sleep tonight.

We were all too rushed trying to get out of the house this morning for a family huddle, but man, could we use one.

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8 thoughts on “Buckle Up for a Bumpy Ride

  1. The officials do the handshake thing in part to honour linesman Stephane Provost who died in 2005 and someone else I believe.
    Good luck with today.

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