Hockey Skates and a Not-So-Lucky Cat

There are moments in marriage when you look at your significant other and remember why you got hitched in the first place. Of course, there are also moments when you wonder, “Who is this person, and why on earth did he just do that?” The best moments are a bit of both: His actions take you by surprise but in a way that makes you see him as you once did.

I never thought I’d find my husband of 16 years more attractive in a pair of hockey skates, but it happened two Sundays ago in Chicago.

School was about to resume after a two-week break, and everyone in our family was dreading Monday’s arrival. A friend suggested dim sum in Chinatown, and it sounded like the perfect beginning of a winter-break last hurrah. It was. We spent an hour at Phoenix Restaurant stuffing our faces with mostly unidentifiable but delicious steamed and deep-fried dumplings. Dim sum, like marriage, requires a leap of faith.

As we sipped our tea and patted our bellies full of heaven knew what, we decided the next leg of our journey would be shopping in Chinatown, followed by ice skating at Millennium Park. My 13-year-old wasn’t interested in shopping or skating, but I promised him an overpriced hot chocolate at the Park Grill and he kindly acquiesced. My 11-year-old wanted some panda paraphernalia for her collection, and I was dying to find a “lucky cat” (a.k.a. maneki-neko) to add to my tchotchke trove. Five (more like 10) stores later, our daughter scored a panda coffee mug, and I settled on a bright-eyed mama cat with a full litter of kittens, figuring all the babies made her extra lucky. With our dining and shopping needs satiated, we headed to the rink.

My not-so-lucky cat

My not-so-lucky cat

My new cat may have been cute and fertile, but she didn’t seem to have much going on in the luck department. We spent at least 30 minutes trying to find parking, and when we finally arrived at Millennium Park, the wait for renting skates was an hour. My daughter brought her own skates, which meant she could hit the ice immediately. But what fun would it be to skate alone? When my husband saw the dejected look on her face, he donned his super hero cape and hatched a solution. All we had to do, he said, was hop a cab across town to the nearest Sports Authority and buy him a pair of skates. It was an impetuous, overindulgent and completely out-of-character move, and it thrilled both my daughter and me.

Thirty minutes, two cab rides and about $65 later, Super Dad was slipping and sliding across the ice in a brand-new pair of hockey skates. I enjoyed the warmth and libations of the Park Grill with my son, both of us laughing as we watched our super hero try to keep up with our figure skater in training. The man had no clue how to skate, but he knew how to make his daughter happy.

I’m not banking on my not-so-lucky Chinatown cat winning me any lottery jackpots, but she makes me smile every time I look at her on my living room bookshelf. She reminds me of a day when I remembered why I love my husband so much. And so do those hockey skates in the garage.

Super Dad and the figure skater

Super Dad and the figure skater


P.S. Thank you so much for all the supportive comments on my post about quitting smoking. I’ve been smoke-free for 21 days now, and I feel great. It truly helps to know you guys have my back.

59 thoughts on “Hockey Skates and a Not-So-Lucky Cat

  1. Love that dim sum like marriage requires a leap of faith. haha. and that cat – uh, wow… cute? haha. but what a great reminder of a wonderful sounding day. go super dad! cutest picture!! 🙂

    • OK, mama. I am going to track down your address and mail you a “lucky cat” since I can tell how much you like mine. Hee, hee…

      Isn’t the pic of my ice skaters awesome? I love it so much I had to Instagram it. And I am a complete Instagram failure.

  2. Super Dad indeed! Love that you all went ice skating together. When I was growing up in Pittsburgh our entire family went outdoor ice skating every single Sunday from November to March, and those are some of my funniest, fondest memories.

    • That is such a cool family tradition, Samantha. Unfortunately, I don’t skate (and am a huge klutz) and my son isn’t a big fan of it. My daughter, however, takes lessons twice a week and loves it. I hope my husband will hit the ice with her again soon. He’s such a good sport.

    • Thanks, Stacie. I don’t even know how to skate, but hockey is a huge deal in my hometown of Detroit too. Not so much in the South Suburbs of Chicago where my husband grew up.

  3. What a great family day! I look forward to when our girls are a bit older and our family days look a little more like yours. There is nothing sexier than a husband being an amazing father. You go, Super Dad!

  4. I want nothing more right now than to go ice skating. My kids are a little young for it, but this is inspiring me. Might have to find the nearest rink and head out there this weekend. This line made me smile: “The man had no clue how to skate, but he knew how to make his daughter happy.” As a father, I’m sure it made your husband happy too.

    • Thanks, Jared. I’m not sure if you’re new to Yeah Write, but you are new to me and a welcome addition to the family. And you sound like a pretty awesome dad too.

      • Thank you. Yes, this week and last week are my first forays into Yeah Write. I’ve actually been receiving the emails for quite some time now (I must have signed up at some point, and/or met Erica way back when), but have only now decided to start participating. I’m glad I have. Glad to connect w/ you and others.

  5. How could you not fall more in love with him? What a great guy!

    And, congrats on the success so far on quitting smoking!! You can do this!

  6. How priceless is that photo?! Both look so happy and satisfied, like your husband knows he did the right thing and your daughter knows she has Daddy wrapped around her little finger. Y’all are awesome. And: I missed your quit-smoking post but make sure you’re drinking tons of water! The faster you can flush out the cigarette toxins the faster you’ll stop craving. Big hug and good luck!

  7. It sounds like you have a fabulous husband, kids who know how to have fun and an awesome cat. I would call that “lucky”. 🙂

  8. Super/Clever Dad indeed! I LOVE that picture and I can totally picture the man put there who can’t skate. Oh and i love Dim Sum done right and not everyone does hence the leap. Sweet post.

  9. I love your lucky cat! She’s a whole lot fancier than the white ceramic one I have, but rest assured the plain ones aren’t a whole lot luckier!

    What an amazing thing for your husband to do for his little girl, and what a great memory that made out of what could have been an otherwise boring day.

    • Thanks, Jen. Isn’t she a cutie? I just don’t get why no one but us thinks so. They must not have the appreciation for fine kitsch that we seem to share.

  10. Awesome!!! We have to remember moments like this when we are picking up their dirty underwear and socks off the floor or when they are in bed crying because they have a cold…..

  11. Big oorah to fathers who can’t ice skate but try to because they want to spend time with their daughters. Very cool.

  12. Hey, congrats on the continued smoke-free living. And this post is great. How you did this without being sentimental or treacly is beyond me. I can’t write about my husband nicely because it makes me want to gag. But this? This is really something.

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