I'm sad to say that this will be my last update for a while. I'm leaving next week for U.S. Air Force basic training which means that I will be unable to get to a computer for eight and a half weeks. I know this seems like forever for you guys but just think how ling it's going to be for me; waking up a four am everyday, doing countless push-ups, sit-ups, running mile after mile. The next time that I will be able to update will be once I get to technical school, but the exact that that I can update is unknown. I hope that you can all bare with me, your support is greatly appreciated and expect an update in either late January or early February.
Thank you all so much,
When morning skate ended the next day Miriya pulled Ben aside as he was walking out of the showers. "Hey coach, I know show up tonight ready to sit in the box."
"Now kid don't talk like that. You may not have noticed but Eats is getting up there and could use a rest tonight, which means that Ric is in."
"What's that have to do with me?" He asked pulling his jeans up.
"Let me get to it Clarke. Hallsy's got a cold and I figured that you wouldn't mind taking his place since your girl's going to be sitting in the crowd."
Ben's face light up, "You found me a ticket?!"
"I'll see you tonight Ben."
The players left and the equipment staff got the locker room ready for the game that night as Miriya went to her office. She sat down in her chair and pulled the lever out so that it could recline. Leaning back she put her feet up on her desk and a smile came to her face as she knew what she had done.
It was just as it had been when she met Jordan, something clicked, and less than twenty-four hours earlier something had clicked between Ben and Bella. Soon she was pulled from her thoughts when her phone buzzed on her desk signaling that it was time to head home. The short drive was spent listening to music and thinking about that night's game. Just as every other day when she walked through the front door she fed herself and her son before laying down for a two hour pre-game nap.
At three o'clock the alarm went off and Miriya rolled out of bed and made her way to the shower. With her hair in a messy bun and the button done on her pin-stripe suit she went to get Scotty ready. With her now nine month old son dressed she kissed her husband good-bye and left for the arena.
The players trickled into the locker room and with one of them was a new but familiar face. "Hello Mr. Shero," she said passing the general manager.
"Oh hello Ms. Hardy and call me Ray, everyone else does."
"Ben's got a thing for her," Miriya said before Ray could ask.
"Oh. Merry Christmas Staalsy," he said handing her an envelope.
"Thanks Ray, I don't have your present with me."
"Not from me," he turned the white envelope so that she could see the official NHL seal.
Miriya quickly went to her office where she sat down and opened the official letter. She read through it but the only words that stuck out as if they had been in bold print were 'Eastern Conference All-Star assistant coach.' "Damn the league likes me," she thought. "But it's up to the boys."
"Staalsy it's up to you," Colby threw out.
"You'll get to spend more time with me," Sid said with a smile.
"Alright, I'll tell them I'll do it."
The pre-game skate quickly passed and the puck was dropped to start the game. In the first period Miriya looked down her bench before the start of a penalty kill in search of Eats. "Right, Ric you're up."
Later in the period Ben picked up an unassisted goal and looked to the crowd in search of Bella before his teammates crowded around him.
"Good job tonight boys, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Remember you can stop by my house Friday but no one there before noon. Our next game is Saturday so those of you I don't see Friday I will see bright and early Saturday.
The next morning the Staal family awoke with not a single care in the world… except the gathering that was going to take place that night at Miriya's grandparent's house. Just as every year Miriya and Jordan went to her grandparent's house on Christmas Eve after mass.
Dressed in nice church clothes the Staals went to St. Sebastian's for mass and enjoyed the singing of the children's choir. Miriya couldn't help but sing along having remembered all of the words having sung in the very same choir. After mass Miriya and Jordan caught up with people that they hadn't seen in a while, Miriya's youth minister and former choir director.
Surprisingly everything went well at dinner and since all of the kids had grown up and started having kids of their own it was a lot different that when Miriya was younger. It ended around ten as it usually did and after saying good-bye Miriya, Jordan, and Scott headed home.
Upon arriving home both Miriya and Jordan put Scott to bed before going to bed themselves. Christmas morning Miriya awoke to find a thin blanket of snow covering the yard, this brought a smile to her face. Soon Jordan and Scott were awake as well and they sat down to open presents. "Is it just me or does the house seem empty?" Miriya asked.
"It is weird not having Nik and Erin here but I assure you the house won't be empty later. You know the entire team's going to show up."
"Oh I know," she said picking up a gift. "Look Scotty, a present from mommy and daddy." She helped him rip the paper and inside was a ball with holes of different shapes. As all babies, he was more interested in the paper than the toy.
Scott opened all of his gifts and Jordan placed him on the floor to play with the wrapping paper while he and Miriya exchanged gifts. Mo joined Scott on the floor and snuggled up against Miriya's leg. "So it's kind of lame, but really what more could you ask for, you have the greatest thing ever."
"What's that, you?" She asked sarcastically.
"Well I'm part of it. You have the team and this is nothing compared to them, but I hope you like it." He handed her the gift and she quickly tore off the paper. It was a small box from a jewelry store which she quickly opened and smiled at what she saw. A silver chain with a small pendent in the shape of a heart.
"Thank you baby, I love it. Help me put it on?" She asked removing it from the box.
"Of course my love." He clasped the necklace around her neck and kissed her lips.
"As always the gift I got you is super lame compared to what you got me."
"You tell me that every year and every year I love what you give me." She handed him the large present and he ripped the paper. "You got me a picture frame?" He asked confused.
"Turn it over you retard." Jordan turned it over to see a picture of himself; it was of his fight verse Ryan Parent a month before. His eyes made their way to the gold lettering across the top that read 'What a come back, Jordan Staal. 11/22/15.' On the right side of the frame was the official score sheet from that night and in the middle was a piece of one of the game pucks and the net. "Dana and Cassie helped me out a little."
"I love it, thank you baby." Just then there was a jingle and they both looked to the Christmas tree.
"No Scott," Miriya said prying his fingers from the bulb on the tree."
"You crawl fast kid," Jordan said with a laugh. "We're not allowed to put you down anymore."
After cleaning up the wrapping paper Miriya made breakfast as Jordan fed Scott. Soon the kitchen was filled with the scent of waffles and the front door flew open. "Do I smell waffles?"
"Yes Colby you do, but I said no one here before noon, remember?"
"Yeah," he said weakly. "But you can't leave me out in the cold."
"Fine Colbs you can stay." The three of them sat down to breakfast and soon Erin and Nik arrived home.
Lunch time came and Miriya had food set up on the island in the kitchen as the guys started showing up. Someone was always following Scott and Christiano as they crawled around the living room, that someone was usually Colby. Jamie and Will played with some of their new toys in Scott's room while Brittany and Jess played in the dinning room. Gifts were exchanged and lots of food was eaten. At around five the entire team was there and Jordan told Miriya to sit down on the couch so that the guys could give her her gift.
"I told you guys not to get me anything."
"Colby," the guys said in unison.
Colby walked up to the couch and handed Miriya the gift. She pulled off the paper to find a photo album entitled 'World's Greatest Coach'. As she turned through the pages she found pictures of herself from many different situations. There were one from practices, morning skates, and ones from every game that took place that year including the one that had taken place two days earlier. There were pictures of her in the locker room, on the plane and bus, even drinking with the guys. Each player had their own picture and there was one of Jordan kissing her. The last picture took up the pull page, it was of the full team and they were all looking at her. "Aw thanks guys this is so sweet."
"There's one more thing," Nik said.
She turned to the last page to find a typed letter. 'To the World's Greatest Coach: We the Pittsburgh Penguins of the 2015-2016 season promise to play our hardest everyday. We will give 100% every time we hit the ice, whether it be game or practice. We will listen to our coach and follow her every direction, no matter what she says. She has sacrificed for us and we will sacrifice for her. We are the Pittsburgh Penguins and we will make our couch proud. We love you Staalsy, Your team (The 2015-2016 Penguins).' Each of the guys had signed their names somewhere on the page and Miriya's eyes started to get watery.
"Are you going to cry?" Ric asked.
"No," she said wiping her eyes. "Thank you guys, I love you all so much." She walked around the room and hugged each of her boys, holding Jordan the longest. "Thank you baby, Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you and you welcome, you are the world's greatest coach." She smiled as his lips pressed against hers.