Ok so its not as if there are masked men beating down my door, these baby stealers are far, far more insidious and sneaky. They send letters. TO MY CHILD. Addressed to him. My barely out of diapers CHILD (ok so that is a bit of a large exaggeration but ... STILL!!!) Sneaky, baby stealing letters.
What are these horrible letters you might ask??? They are letters from JUNIOR A HOCKEY ASSOCIATIONS. Letters of INVITATION to "Prospect Camps". They use flattery. They use incentives. They use pretty pictures.
And they invite him to try out for teams FAR, FAR, FAR away. From ME.
I was under the illusion that he couldn't be scouted for another year. These letters tell me I was in denial. Am I conflicted? Heck yeah!
Proud? Absolutely!! Overwhelmingly so! This is a huge thing for a 14 year old in a hockey crazy town, in a hockey crazy province, in a hockey crazy country.
Scared? Absolutely!! The team that invited him out today is at least a 12 hour drive (and ferry ride) from our home.
Confused? Yah think?? This is his dream. To "make it". To get these opportunities, and who am I to deny my child their dream? But then there is reality, his dream means that he will have to leave home early. This is a kid who ARRIVED home late. What is the wisdom in letting a child who experienced much in his early childhood leave home so young? It's our job as parents to protect him, even from himself. What 14 year old wouldn't want to be asked to play for a team that would undoubtedly be a huge stepping stone for him? Would he regret that we let him as an adult and ask why we didn't stop him? Is he sacrificing his childhood for a sport? Would he hate us for denying him the chance?
Yes, I am jumping about twelve steps ahead of where I need to be because in reality its very, very different from being asked to come out and being asked to play, but it is these thoughts that flood my head when this happens because this is only the first of several invitations to come.
No easy answers. So today I am proud, and scared and wonder what the future holds for my talented baby boy.