It was exhilarating after the Penguins eliminated the Capitals and even more so when they beat Carolina in a sweep. I had been a little nervous about taking Oliver with me on those two road games, so I chose not to attend, but I kept Sidney's routine on track no matter what.
My parents had come to stay with us at the beginning of the Carolina series, and Sid's parents and sister were at the condo, so I was busy trying to keep everyone happy and eliminate as much tension as possible.
Oliver loved being with my parents; he was starting to spout off a word or two a day, either in French or English.
The day after making it to the Final, Sidney and I had a talk about just that.
"I'm curious as to whether or not he can tell the difference between the two, you know?" Sid asked as he changed Oliver out of his pajamas and into some play clothes.
"I've read some stuff, but I guess you just don't know.. I mean, it worked with me. Marc-Andre, well.... He's just crazy," I laughed, "We can talk to my mom. She'll know more."
We discussed this over lunch, then Trina and Troy brought Taylor to the house so they could go do whatever they were going to go do.
"Hey, Taylor," I greeted cheerfully, watching her wave back somewhat unenthusiastically.
"Tay," Sidney warned from my side, shooting her a 'big brother' look.
My mother asked the girl if she wanted anything to eat, but she declined.
Although I enjoyed having a house full of people, I preferred those quiet times with Sidney and Oliver.
I noticed that Taylor seemed put off and almost annoyed by Oliver, so I intervened.
"Would you do me a favour and run up to Ollie's room and grab his pacifier? I meant to grab it earlier..."
The girl nodded hesitantly, disappearing up the stairs.
When Taylor returned to the living room, I saw a bright look on her face due to the wrapped box in her hands with her name on it.
"What is this?" she asked, handing me the pacifier and I shrugged.
"A little present from me to you."
I had gotten her a new Roberto Luongo jersey, and I could tell she was excited.
"My old one is so ratty.. I've been saving up for this. Thanks."
"Well I don't get to see you very often! You're a great girl, and you're welcome," I smiled, knowing she now was genuinely excited to be here. Sometimes a little incentive is all it takes to make an awkward situation a bit more bearable.
"Where's Sid? I want to show him my new jersey!" Taylor grinned and I looked around.
"I'm not sure.. I'll find him though," I laughed, picking up Oliver as I stood up from the couch, walking into the kitchen.
"Have you seen Sid.. and dad for that matter?" I asked my mom, who pointed to the door that led outside.
I peeked into the backyard, spotting Sid and my father messing around with hockey sticks and some pucks, shooting them at a big tree in the yard.
"Dad, stop trying to show Sidney your tricks. They're circa-1976," I told him with a giggle, walking out into the bright sun.
The Final started in Detroit on May 30th, and we were all there to cheer the guys on. It was hard to watch the two straight losses knowing Sidney and everyone else was trying their hardest.
The crowd in Detroit was ruthless; one woman told me I was a horrible mother for dressing Oliver in a Penguins outfit.
I would have beaten the crap out of her if I hadn't of been bringing Ollie back from the restroom, so I verbally abused her instead. I wasn't going to stand around and let someone bash the my brother, Sidney, or any of the Penguins for that matter.
I guess Oliver had picked up on the tension in the air; he was fussy all Monday, crying nonstop and stressing me out even more than I had been due to the series.
I knew Sid felt bad when I made him leave to go to practice, but he didn't need to be around a screaming baby when game three was tomorrow.
When Sid left for practice, Oliver and I were alone. My parents were at Marc-Andre's and Sid's were at the condo, and I was at my wit's end.
"Oh Ollie... What can I do to make you stop?" I begged, rocking him gently in my arms as I paced his room, trying to get the boy to quiet down.
I spent the whole time Sid was gone trying to figure out a way to soothe Oliver, but I hadn't succeeded by the time one o'clock rolled around.
"Hey, I'm back!" Sidney called out.
"No, go back to practice," I said, walking down the stairs.
Oliver had been pulling my hair for the last half hour.
"Oh, come here buddy!" Sid took Oliver, holding the boy securely against his chest.
"Why are you giving mommy such a hard time?" he asked, rubbing Oliver's back as his cries began to die down, eventually silencing.
"How did you do that?" I asked in amazement.
"Magic touch, remember?" Sidney smiled, "I think he's ready for a nap."
Games three and four at Mellon without a hitch, two wins in a row, which was unfortunately followed by a total blowout in Detroit. Marc-Andre was frustrated with himself beyond belief, but it was better for him to let all of his mistakes happen during one game rather than over several. He was on lockdown for Game Six.
The entire time during Game Seven, I was on the edge of my seat, as was everyone else. The team was a little deflated by Sidney's sudden injury, which was what worried me the most. How was he going to hoist the Cup if he could barely skate a shift? And I didn't feel as if I was getting ahead of myself by saying that. I had a feeling in my gut that this was their night.
Maxime was on a mission, having scored both goals for the Pens.
As nerve racking as the game was, the last six seconds was the worst.
We had all moved down to the walkway to the ice, the game at 2-1 in favour of the Pens, and when the final buzzer went off in Joe Louis Arena, my heart nearly stopped.
I held onto Oliver tightly as I watched the team celebrating, a huge smile on my face.
They had done it. The Penguins won the Cup.
I watched the Red Wings start lining up for handshakes, and eventually the guys went through the line, Sidney being one of the last few.
I was standing with my parents, who were muttering to each other in French about how proud they were of Marc, who had the biggest look of relief in his wide eyes.
We had played "Game Seven Overtime" in our basement so many times... Now it was his reality.
The arena had quieted down; Detroit fans looked on in disbelief as Gary Bettman presented the beautiful Stanley Cup to the "youngest Captain ever to hoist it" and the Penguins, then posed for a few photos, finally allowing Sidney to lift the Cup over his head, a look of pure bliss written all over his face.
He skated it around the rink, kissed it, then handed it off to Papa Guerin, who continued on with it.
By this time, the player's wives and families were on the benches and a few were brave enough for the ice, including myself.
I took in the sight of the Cup easing into everyone's hands like it weight nothing, and after what felt like forever, Sidney skated up beside me.
"Hey there," he grinned, taking Oliver and hugging him, kissing me briefly.
"I'm so proud of you!" I smiled, "How's your knee?"
I was still worried.
"What? Oh, it's ok right now, thanks. Hey, I gotta go get something from my mom," he told me, skating off to the bench with Ollie, who was emitting a small laugh; he loved when we skated with him.
I went to talk to Vero, who was nearly in tears while she watched Marc-Andre with the Cup. It was so exciting to finally see his dreams come true.
While the guys were taking pictures with their families and the Cup, Sidney had come back to get me for ours.
"Come on! I already got one with my family, now it's our turn!"
Sidney sat Oliver in the Cup, and I approached it almost carefully, setting my hand on it only to keep Ollie stable. It felt electrifying to touch such a piece of coveted hockey history.
We smiled as the cameras flashed, and once they were done, I watched Sidney pull something out of his hockey shorts, which was really weird.
"I know this probably isn't the best time.. But I thought it would mean a lot if I did it now.." he said, and I gave him a weird look, noticing that those nearby us were watching intently, including both of our families and a lot of the guys.
"Aubrie, will you marry me?" Sidney asked, revealing a little box that held a gorgeous ring.
I was so overwhelmed by this whole scene that when I opened my mouth to speak, nothing came out.