Spiderman caught me at an incredibly weak moment…I’d been down and out in bed for several days with the flu when he asked if “the team” could sleep over.
I did a quick calculation in my head and thought…12 guys minus the ones that wouldn’t be able to make it – meh, how bad could it be? Then, I made the suggestion that if they were staying the night, maybe they should discuss going to the Remembrance Day ceremony in the morning.
The next thing I knew, the entire hockey team was coming to my house for a sleepover and, when my fuzzy flu-brain woke up, I remembered that a hockey team actually has 18 players not 12 and, while 12 boys sleeping at my house seems incredibly extreme and overwhelming, eighteen is outrageous and downright dumb!
Except that…they were all kind of awesome and nothing crazy happened unless you count me being up at 3 a.m making pizza as a little crazy (which it was)…or that someone was “flipped” off of a couch while they were sleeping…or that a whack of boys sleeping in close quarters could result in a kicking fight as no one likes it when one person’s foot touches another person’s leg…or, that I never closed my eyes until just after 4 a.m when I was sure that each and every one of those boys had finally settled for the night.
Nope…it was all kinds of awesome in that nothing (that I know of) went wrong. Eighteen boys between the ages of 15 and 17…teammates of the Halifax West Warriors Hockey Team…kind of made me proud. There was lots of whispering late into the night (which boys don’t whisper really well), a fair bit of giggling and a lot of horse play…but, not a single person woke up that morning with shaved eyebrows, there were no permanent marker moustaches, and I ended up with the same number of boys in my house at the end that I’d started with (I think!)
A mere 5 hours after I closed my eyes, I heard them begin to stir. Waking one another up…zombies in sweatpants and boxer shorts making their slow moves to the bathrooms to begin their day.
They gathered in my front entrance…the crowd getting bigger and bigger as I came to realize just how many of them there were! Some were a little faster getting ready than others…joking around, poking fun at one another, laughing at the antics from the night before, thanking me for having them over, putting on their shoes, straightening their ties, fixing their poppies to their team jackets until all were ready…and they headed to the Remembrance Day Ceremony together.
I was left in awe.
Shaking my head.
Trying to erase images from my mind as they kept sneaking in as the realization hit me that those eighteen boys who just walked out my front door to pay their respects to the young men who went to war…are, shockingly, the same ages as the boys they’re paying tribute to. Boys who one day were enjoying a game of shinny…horse playing and joking with one another…and the next day, were enlisting to serve our country. Travelling thousands of miles away from their families and friends to fight for our freedom.
I thought of the men and women who served our country then and those who serve our country now. I felt the magnitude and enormity of what Remembrance Day means…for the thousands of young soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, those who came home to their families forever changed, those left standing at the door waiting for their loved ones to return…
and the 18 boys giggling and whispering into the night…because they can.