Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Hockey Life: Change in routines

Once a year, here in the states, there's a day when parents are encouraged to bring their child or children to work. It's a day to bond mostly, but it also serves to give the kids an idea of what their parents do to put a roof over their heads, food on the table and, in our case, ice under skates.

For the past six years, though, we've done it a bit differently. Thanks to my accommodating employer, one that understands the complexities of life brought about by my work schedule, Colin has joined me at work about two to three times a week, his visits lasting only an hour or two.

For me, it was nice being able to see him for a bit every day. I work nights, you see, helping in various forms to produce the largest daily paper in Florida. As a result, we don't spend too many nights at home together as a family. So, I take what time Colin and I had.

Granted, Colin has done his part, being much more seen than heard and, if I do say so myself, ingratiating himself to the newsroom. A number of his drawings, as well as other pieces of his handiwork, fill cubicles. In a way -- actually, in many ways -- he became part of the fabric.

It wasn't out of the ordinary for him to help me design pages or publish stories to the paper's website. Nor was it for him to engage in conversations with my colleagues, from the publisher to supervisors to my peers. Even walking out of the newsroom, partially dressed for hockey practice, brought more smiles than raised eyebrows.

Starting tomorrow, that's all about to change.

During his days in elementary school, our schedules meshed. His school day was ending just as my workday was starting. Rather than put him in an after-school program, he spent the time with me in the newsroom until The Missus ended her day. Going forward, that won't be the case.

His school days, in a middle-school magnet program that stresses a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum, begin and end about an hour later from last year's schedule. This change, albeit slight, throws a necessary monkey wrench into the works.

Rather than picking him up most every day, I'll now drop him off at school every morning. Sure, he could ride a school bus across town, but we'd miss out, even if it's measured in minutes, on our time together. Though it means a little less sleep for me, it's a deal I'd make day after day after day.

Any time with Colin, for me, is quality time.

The Missus, too, is changing her routine. She has adjusted her work schedule, starting earlier each day, so she can pick him up most every afternoon. Given the logistics (her office is about a 10-minute ride from the school), it simply made sense.

Despite these changes, we'll still have our Boys Night Out. Rather than take him skating at the Countryside mall rink most Wednesday afternoons, as we've done for the past six years, I'll take Colin to his practices for the Brandon Jr. Bulls Peewee A team. Train-hunting trips, a staple of our father-son adventures, will also remain a part of our weekly drill.

So, yes, change is in the air. Rather than fight it, as really there's little we can do, we'll embrace it. It's all about growing up, even for me, and, as I've said many times before, moving forward. That's the only way to go.

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