ANTICIPATING THE ARRIVAL OF OUR BILLET SON
As a Billet Mom every summer I would anticipate the arrival of a player. Either looking forward to our returning Billet Son or looking forward to a new player. We welcomed these young men into our home with open arms. We were so happy to be giving them a place to live for the upcoming season.
If we were expecting a new player what would he be like? Would we like him, would he like us? Would he talk to us or prefer to stay to himself? Would he be cocky and have attitude? Was he serious about hockey or just here for a good time? Would he be in school or not? Would he be a picky eater or would he eat almost everything? Would he have a car? All these questions and more, crossed our minds as we looked forward to our new Billet Son.
We have experienced all types of players in our home: arrogant, quiet, loner, fussy, funny, messy, pleasant, rude, lazy, cocky, polite, disrespectful, and the list goes on.
THE BILLETING EXPERIENCE
Is Billeting easy? No not by a long shot! Have I ever thought about not Billeting, yes many times? It all depends on how you deal with the day by day situations and how you as a billet can cope with these young men in your home. It doesn’t matter how many times you have billeted or how many players you have had living in your home, what matters the most is what you and they have learned from the experience.
Almost all the boys we billeted lived for hockey. They ate, drank, breathed and slept hockey. Of course, we had some that didn’t and unfortunately these were the ones that came to party and be with girls. They did not do well in hockey. There are so many different types of players as there are so many different personalities. You have to like the sport you are billeting for or you will have nothing in common with these boys.
The Billeting experience involves a lot of cooking and as a Billet Mother I loved to cook. You have to make sure these guys get fed. They are growing boys and with school and practicing they have huge appetites.
ANOTHER GAME, ANOTHER LOSS!
Our Billet Son would be really up and excited when they won but of course the opposite was true when they lost. Dealing with them when they won was a pleasure but dealing with them when they lost was very difficult. Losing was tough especially when they had lost a series of games in a row. For the most part we didn’t say too much and just let them talk when they where ready. When they lost and especially if they were really down I would repeat to them a quote I once heard “You learn more from losing than you do from winning because by losing you learn how to keep going!” Read more quotes and sayings about losing.
BILLETING INVOLVES INJURIES AND SUSPENSIONS
The Billeting experience is not without its ups and downs and part of the Billeting experience is dealing with injuries and suspensions.
Injuries and suspensions are part of what you will have to deal with. Being a little on the queasy side I have had to suck it up and face numerous injuries and sickness.
Suspensions are difficult to deal with as your Billet Son will likely get very depressed. However, we used to make a game of it by writing a countdown on the calendar. If he got 3 games we would write down the numbers and the date he would be eligible to return. As each game came up he would strike a number off. We had a player who received a 12 game suspension and it seemed like forever for all of us before he could play. During his suspension we always encouraged him to go to the rink and cheer on his teammates. He would say “I would rather be playing” but we always would say to him “yes, but support in the stands is important too.” Here is an article on some of the longest suspensions.
BILLETING MEANS BEING HONEST
At times we would be asked by our Billet Son how we thought he played. Unfortunately for most of our boys my husband and I were honest and if we didn’t think he played well we would, in a nice way, tell him. There was no sense sugar coating it and making it look like he was a super star out there if he wasn’t. Most appreciated our honesty. On the other hand though we were very quick with the compliments if he had a great game. If they had a really bad game we would make sure we offered our support and let them talk about it. We offered our insight but only if asked.
I have also had our Bllet Son ask me if he looked OK in his suit. Again, honesty is the best policy. We had one player who had grown out of his jacket and his pants and diplomatically had to tell him that perhaps he had grown more then he realized and would need to get some new clothes.
Through our years of experience we have learned so much. Not only have we tried our best to teach the boys about life but they in turn have made us stronger. We have learned through them how to handle most situations and come up with a solution. They have helped us to grow and their experiences alone have given us strength.
We have had to deal with many different situations and issues as most Billets do. We are not alone, the Billet Family supports each other. We know, that at any given time, if we are experiencing any problems within our billet home, we can call on any of the other Billets and they will be there for us. There are times when you would rather not involve the team and discuss certain situations with them. These are the times it is great to know we have the support of the other Billets.
A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BILLET MOM
A typical day for me was getting up around 5 am, starting work at 6 am, coming home around 3 pm or later, throwing in a load of wash, preparing dinner, feeding the boys around 6 pm or later, putting clothes in the dryer and cleaning up the kitchen. Many days I didn’t get out of the kitchen until 8 or later especially if I was preparing something for the next days meal.
IS BILLETING WORTH IT?
If I was asked by a non Billet “If Billeting was worth it?” I would reply “Yes, but it is a lot of work and your time is not your own anymore.” If you are considering Billeting make sure you want to Billet for the right reasons. It is not always easy and at times can seem like a thankless job.
Does Billeting always work out? No, it doesn’t. There can be personality conflicts and it just isn’t meant to be. Not every Billet Son is a match for his new Billet Parents. However, it can be a rewarding experience and something that you should consider.
If I was asked to use one word to sum up my Billeting experience that word would be “Challenging.”