Scenes From a Long Weekend

Riley, N.J. Devil and Ryan
One of the highlights of our weekend.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as full of food, family and football (or hockey) as our was.

A late-night adult league hockey game, combined with a bout of insomnia, have left we with precious little energy to tell you about mine, so let me try to summarize.

Our Thanksgiving was spent in the company of my extended family. Ryan and Riley ran around the house with their three cousins of similar age. Ryan watched some football. He watched some hockey. The five cousins had a great time at the “kids table” while the adults caught up in the dining room.

Ryan resisted our efforts to get him to eat traditional Thanksgiving foods, but he was determined to take part in tradition nonetheless. A few years ago, his wonderful aunt got him a pizza on Thanksgiving, and the turkey day pizza has been a part of our family celebrations ever since. Ryan called to order this year’s himself, announcing to our neighborhood pizza guy that it was indeed a special holiday order. Taking part in another Thanksgiving tradition, Ryan announced he intended to overeat, because that’s what everyone does. He was intent on eating all eight slices — but thankfully listened to reason and stopped after four, saving room for dessert in the process.

Before and after Thanksgiving day, there was lots of family time, mostly centered around hockey. Between Wednesday night and Sunday, there were two Devils games, one ice hockey practice, one ice hockey game, one street hockey practice and one public skating session — and that was before I headed back to the rink for my own hockey game last night at 11 p.m. There were two early morning viewings of Sharks games (both wins!) on the DVR.

In between all that sports, Ryan and I found time to watch the Jets game together, and Riley found time to film, edit and publish a short movie for a school project — a film that starred Ryan as the villain. He actually enjoyed taking part, posed willingly for his fake mug shot, and said his lines with enthusiasm.

Ryan as Dr. Skippy
Ryan poses for his mug shot as the Evil Dr. Skippy.

The Saturday night Devils game was a particular treat. We were invited to the season ticket holders’ suite to watch the game, and treated to visits by former players and the mascot. Ryan was particularly thrilled because the suite had a TV that was playing one of the other games from Saturday, allowing him to multitask, while Riley delighted in meeting the players and the mascot. The Devils even rewarded us with a tense, 1-0 overtime win.

That capped off a tough day for me as a sports fan. My beloved Michigan Wolverines, huge underdogs against arch-rival Ohio State, fought valiantly before ultimately rallying, 42-41, in what will go down as one of the most memorable games in the long history of the series. Advancing age and shifting priorities have allowed me to compartmentalize such results. I can spend three or four hours living and dying with each snap before generally shaking off the result. But this one stung. Michigan has had a tough year, and this win would have made all that disappear — but it was not to be.

Ryan likes to play DJ in the car, choosing songs from his iPad and playing them through the car speakers. On the way to the Devils game Saturday night, he attempted to lift my spirits by playing some of my favorite U2 songs.

Lack of empathy? I think not.

I returned to work with a heavy heart this morning, and it had nothing to do with Michigan losing, but rather simple sadness over the end of a truly enjoyable long weekend spent engaged with family.

As I attempted to explain in my last post, I am thankful for many blessings in my life, but none more than the gift of time. Time with which to share such experiences with friends and family is truly priceless.


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