Any kind of reaction.
He is the epitome of cool, calm, and collected ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. The problem is that sometimes his laid back nature is perceived as disinterest. I hear it all the time, "Oh, he didn't seem very excited about that ..." or "Wow, I am really surprised he doesn't care about this ..."
I, too, am often disappointed by his reaction (or lack thereof) to random things. I'll share a story and he will give a nod, or a smile, or some small acknowledgement that he knows I am speaking. But that's it. I am left going, "Isn't that sooooooo funny? Isn't that sooooooo annoying? Isn't that soooooo anything? Isn't it? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
Most of the day to day things I find interesting are of absolutely no interest to him. On the surface those interests include (but are not limited to) reality television, celebrity gossip, and what kind of poop Calder had that morning. Not exactly man-friendly topics, I'll admit. And I know I lose him in my storytelling, which usually consists of long, drawn out, detail oriented rambling in which I get lost a time or two and have to pause to remember where I was going to begin with and bring it back in. You're here, so you feel his pain. In all honesty, I don't blame him for tuning me out at times.
But give a girl a break, I mean ... So fine, he doesn't care that there's a Kimye wedding on the horizon. Can't that girl get a, "Oh, that's interesting" now and again? There are times when I literally pick a fight over nothing (and I mean no-thing) like a 16 year old girl just to see if I can ruffle his feathers. Nine times out of ten? ... Crickets.
As you know, the past five weeks or so have been a little chaotic; no shortage of things to do and places to be and people to see. While juggling 982,342,038 balls and wearing just as many hats, I unfortunately haven't had much time to ruffle his feathers or fill him in on the fact that rumor has it the Kimye wedding has been moved to May.
I have, however, spent an enormous amount of time at the rink. Primarily for Linden's hockey practices. He's been skating two to three times each week for about two years now. They offer a wonderful "bambini" program here. The instructors are so good with the kids and you can't beat the price. I think we pay around 40 euros for the entire season. Yes, those of you in the US and Canada read that correctly. Forty euros. Entire. Season.
Now, my husband has had his ass firmly planted on our couch (with the exception of physio, of course) ... doctor's orders. So the responsibility of taking Linden to and from hockey, and helping him with anything in between, is on me.
Over the past five weeks I have learned that forgetting Linden's water bottle will result in tears. I have learned the green jersey brings him better luck than the red jersey during his "games" (mini scrimmages). I have learned that he needs a snack between kindergarten and practice or he will crash and burn thirty minutes in. I have learned that the snack shack is closed on Wednesdays and I therefor hate Wednesday hockey practices. I have learned which piece of equipment goes on over and under the rest. And I think I can get him dressed in four minutes flat and that's probably a world record, I'm just saying.
So anyway, it's been me and the kid.
I get the basics of hockey. But that's where my knowledge of the sport ends. I couldn't tell you how Linden is doing compared to other kids his age or in his group. There's a mixed bag, for sure, but they all seem to be better than the other at one thing or another. I understand the skills and concepts they are learning but I can't tell you if they are registering with Linden. I see him do things here and there that catch my eye but I can't tell you if they're good or bad. Should he be using the edges of his skates that way? Can't tell ya. Should he be crossing one leg over the other like that? No clue. Is that the right way for him to be stopping at this age? Your guess is as good as mine, if not better.
My husband asks how he is doing all the time. I tell him how much Linden is learning, how hard he is working, how well he is listening, and how much he loves playing. But then ... crickets. I don't know what I expect from him, but I guess it's more than what he's been giving.
To an outsider, it would probably seem like he doesn't care. Between you and me, I think what it comes down to here is a fear of caring too much. He doesn't want to allow himself to be too ... anything. He doesn't ever want to be that parent. So instead of showing his pride or his excitement, he puts it away. He doesn't want to go there, and I understand that.
But then I think, it wouldn't kill him to show a little more ... enthusiasm. Hockey isn't everything in life, and it shouldn't be, but it's pretty damn close to everything for our five year old. It's all he talks about. It's all he thinks about.
He has developed a genuine love for the game of hockey, the kind of love you can't force or teach.
I am very, very proud of Linden. I tell him that every day. But I want my husband to be proud too. Scratch that. I know he is proud. What I want is for him to show that he is proud. Because me telling Linden how great he is, well it's fine and dandy, but when it comes to hockey my opinion isn't the one that is going to matter to him.
Last week, one of the other parents told me that there was a small hockey "tournament" of sorts taking place on Saturday morning, in place of regular practice. There would be kids from other cities in our area, teams would be formed, kids would have shifts (or turns, really), and the games would be timed and refereed. Linden was over the moon excited.
It's not easy for my husband to get around these days. He hasn't been able to drive and has a hard time sitting in a car, he's got a knee brace that looks like some kind of torture device, and it's not comfortable for him to stand or sit for too long. But he could see how excited Linden was for his first tournament, and come hell or high water, he was going to be there.
So bright and early on Saturday morning, I got all three boys up and going. Albeit we were twenty minutes late (as we are to most events), but we were there. All of us.
And it was cancelled. Or moved. Or maybe it never was to begin with. Who knows?
Regular practice was being held, and there were a whopping two kids in Linden's group.
I was so disappointed, and not because there wasn't a tournament or even because Linden was let down, but because I thought for sure that my husband would ask me to take him home. It's hard enough on him to be out and about, he wouldn't want to stay and watch Linden putz around with two other kidlets.
But he did.
And let me be the first to say, sometimes I underestimate this man, because his reaction was priceless.
He stood at the glass, for an hour and a half, without moving. A smile plastered to his face.
I swear I saw tears start to well up as he shot video with his phone. Not crocodile tears but the kind of tears you know you got when you watched the Budweiser/Puppy commercial during the Super Bowl. You know, the misty ones. And it was the sweetest, most heart-felt reaction I have seen in a long, long time.
The rest of the day, all we heard out of that hubby of mine was how proud he was.
He is proud of his little boy, and his little boy knows it.