March 24, 2011

And that is a very, very good thing.

Well, Linden and I are finally leaving, headin' home tomorrow. My other half will be here, hopefully fighting through round after round of playoff games. Fingers crossed we at least get through the first round; Mama needs a new big-girl wardrobe for work!

It's kind of funny because the first year we were together, all I thought about was the team doing well; making it as far as they could. It hadn't crossed my mind that for every week that passed, we'd collect another paycheck. Now that we're a little older, with big-kid dreams (like owning a home or saving for the future), and little guy of our own to provide for, our focus has shifted. It's not always about hockey itself ...

It's not that I don't root for his team now (I totally consider the team's success to be my success, in a lot of ways, because as wives we sacrifice and put up with a lot to ensure the success of our partners) but those paychecks are important, especially when you're a single income family.

I am not looking forward to being away from my husband for an undetermined amount of time but I won't lie, after the season we have had, I am beyond excited to go home. What's that O.A.R. song? "There are few things pure in this world anymore, and home is one of the few." That's so true ... and I am so ready to be there.

I have bitched and moaned about so many things this year, mostly venting so that I didn't have to dump it on my husband or any of the girls here, but also because I wanted to give an open and honest account of what this life is really like. I think we can all agree there are a lot of common misconceptions, right? Raise your hand if you've learned anything here!

I don't want this post to be about the not so great things that happened this year. You've read about those things already and it's time to move past them. So let's focus on the positive things (KY, this is me fulfilling my promise to you):

This past summer, my husband signed in the DEL. That, in and of itself, was a huge personal accomplishment for him. After two months in Germany, he was in a really good place; happy and confident. Loving hockey again. Passionate. Sure, the team filed for bankruptcy and the fallout was ugly ... but he got there and that's a good thing.

And of course, we once again (remember Italy?) were reminded of just how strong we are.

When things fell apart in Germany, we were fortunate that there was an organization in the States that was interested in signing him and that made coming 'home' more sweet than bitter. Due to the economy, hockey teams folded left and right, around the world this season ... and a lot of talented players spent the season at home. Not a day goes by that we aren't thankful to have landed here. A huge thank you is due to those who made playing and living here a good experience for my husband; for our family. This organization has been so, so good to us.

If you've been keeping up with me, you'll remember my post about finding myself in Europe; about how being in Europe opened my eyes and challenged me to be a better person. I haven't blogged about this particular thing because ... I didn't want to go there, it's not what this blog is about. But the lesson I learned as a result was definitely important and something I consider positive.

There were a couple of months at the beginning of the season when I allowed myself to get wrapped up in and consumed by things I wish I had never been a part of. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone but myself or blaming anyone but myself. I'm an adult and I'll be the first to admit to it - and I'll tell you, it was flat out childish bullshit. I wanted to be a part of the group, something I had never really been concerned about anywhere else. The best of us and the worst of us get caught up in things we shouldn't from time to time. I'm certainly guilty of that.

This blog has been a godsend. It has provided a place for me to write, to think, to sort things out. I've often referred to it as cheap therapy. The process is cathartic and more often than not, the solutions to my problems smack me in the face as I write. 'Duh, that's my problem ... I resent my husband for making me go to Italy' (that's not exactly how that one went but you get the idea). Well as I wrote about Europe and how it changed me, I realized that I had temporarily lost sight of who I want to be when I arrived here ... I did a lot of 'growing up' over there and just because I'm not there anymore doesn't mean I can or should regress back to the me I was two years ago. I can still strive to be that person; an ever-changing, always-growing, better-today-than-yesterday version of myself. Brilliant, right? Never, ever again will I be a part of anything ugly. Lesson learned.

In a roundabout way, that brings me to Lindsey and Kymberly who are two of the most intelligent, witty, creative, driven and supportive women I have had the privilege of knowing. Above all else this season, I am thankful for them. Sure, we support each other's blogs, but what we have runs so much deeper than that. I am so grateful that they are a part of my life and am blessed to be a part of theirs. We have held each other's hands, across the miles, through the ups and downs that this hockey season has brought each of us ... and I will be forever indebted to them for their support and willingness to listen to my nonsense. I hope there is never a day when I don't awake to 983,453 emails from them in my inbox.

But perhaps the most positive thing to come of this (disaster of a) season is that we had the talk. You know, the one about life after hockey. Dun dun dun ....

When we first got here, my husband was in a really bad place emotionally and mentally. He wasn't playing to his ability and he was worried they might let him go. If they would have let him go, it probably would have been the end of his hockey career. I resisted the conversation because I didn't want to face the fact that hockey might be over for us and that we might have to move on before we're really ready to do so.

My head was spinning with not-so-small details. Like the fact that my husband is Canadian and cannot work in the US. Like the fact that he still has two college courses left before he completes his four-year degree (he left early from college to play professionally). Like the fact that I've been out of the workforce for two years and I'm not sure I can find a job that will allow us the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed. Like the fact that, aside from coaching or scouting, he has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up.

But we sat down and we talked about it. About our fears. Our options. Our reality.

He enrolled in one of the college courses he needed to complete and finished it online through distance education. He'll take the other course this summer, in the evenings. Once he's got his degree, we will work toward completing the paperwork necessary for him to seek employment in the US and I decided to work this summer - get my feet back into the workforce and beef up my resume. We'll get there ...

There are a lot of uncertainties in hockey; in professional sports in general. There are a lot of things that are beyond our control. And as a result there are a lot of things we can't actually plan. But we can talk about them ... and talking about them puts us on the same page. Which is where we are now. And that is a very, very good thing.

28 comments:

  1. I don't know why, but reading through this made me all teary eyed. I can't explain it. Ill pretend its because I read it on my tiny blackberry screen.

    I am so glad I found your blog, whenever that was, I guess a couple months ago now. I've really enjoyed reading into your life, nacho cheese ass and all. Also, I've really enjoyed our little chit chats on twitter, as I've kind of vented innapropriately I've been going through some not so great times...so I guess its nice to just read about someone elses life for a bit.

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  2. Chris, that is beyond sweet. I have enjoyed getting to know you too ... it's an amazing thing when two people who don't actually know each other can be there for one another, support one another ... or just take the other's mind of something not-so-great. I'm thankful that you enjoy this little project of mine!

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  3. Packing and moving are two things that I am NOT looking forward to. You seem to have this down to a science, so forgive me if I steal (borrow?) the science from you.

    Good luck with this new job, I know you were (and most likely still are) super excited to get it and bulking up a resume is always a good idea. Life is so uncertain, in general, and comes at you fast. It's good to have backup plans.

    Good luck to HP with the playoffs, I have confidence that he and his teammates will go far. The hunt here is tooth and nail right now. 4 points separate first and third place (which two teams are tied for). Insanity. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take!!

    Safe travels to you and Linden tomorrow!! You'll be in my thoughts tomorrow until you let everyone know you're safe!

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  4. Ashley, Steal away, my friend! That's the point of writing about it ... Thanks for the kind words, they are greatly appreciated. I'll tweet when we're settled!

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  5. I hope you have the easiest and best trip home ever. I am excited to see how much you will love your new job!! You are amazing :)

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  6. I love you I love you I love you I love you I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

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  7. I'm happy to hear that ya'll are making strides toward your future after hockey. Sometimes we have to lose our grip a bit in order for us to better prepare ourselves for the future.

    I'm also happy that I've had the opportunity to get to know you a bit these past few months (has it been months already...? Yes... I believe it has. Time flies!) You're an inspiration and I hope that our friendship will continue to grow. (Lindsey & Kymmy are quite awesome too!) If you ever need me, you know how to find me girly!!!

    xoxo,
    Heather

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  8. This has been one of those journeys that you go through that no doubt make you stronger but also remember who you are as a person, a couple as a family. Your boundaries have been pushed and pulled and when you feel like you've gone through the ringer all you can do, and what you have done is move forward because ultimately it can and will only get better. you're so positive and keeping such an optimistic outlook, expect only good things for you yourselves.

    Safe travels home and getting back into the whole work mode (slap on the big girl pants!), hopefully you can recoup with your friends and family...and then start back up again next season right.

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  9. We have been in more situations of my husband looking for a job than the comfort of a multi-year contract. Hockey has it;s ups and downs in ALL levels. We have also experienced teams folding...teams moving...and teams firing! You never know what the next season holds. I don't think my husband would be able to do ANYTHING if he didn't have hockey.

    Have a great trip home...have a great summer....and best of luck for the upcoming season.

    Cheers!

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  10. I have to say reading your blog brings back lots of memories for my immediate family. My cousin played in the NHL for many years, and was traded a few times, so watching his family be uprooted to different cities was quite the chore for his wife and kids, too. He has since retired, but reading your blog brings lots of memories that we went through. Hang in there! Safe travels back home!

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  11. Love love love your blog. I'm going to make a comment and I don't want you to take it the wrong way.... This post made me sort of happy to see that the players and families go through the same struggles/fears/ups/downs as everyone else. Happy is not a good word, because I don't want to see anyone struggle but your writing really personified the players and their families as real people. I think that they are idolized on so many levels and everyone thinks that if they just get to that level everything will be perfect and rosey.... You have shown us that it's not always the case and I think it's awesome that you have the courage to put it out there.

    I wish you and your family nothing but the best.... Enjoy your time at home in the off season and I can't wait to see what your next adventure brings!!!

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  12. I love the honesty of this post. You know, as "fans" we always tend to think that "they"(pro players) have no idea what it is like in the REAL WORLD. Thanks for letting us in. I'm glad you've started making plans for the future. That will definitely take stress off later.

    xoxo
    april

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  13. Great Post. It's amazing how wild the hockey path can take you in a short time period. Good Luck with your new job and enjoy a few quiet hockey-free months :)

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  14. Glad you are heading home! This season sounds like it has been a real learning time.

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  15. Such a great post!

    Thank you for letting us see a glimpse behind the scene. It's so easy to think that those in the public eye are living a carefree glamorous life ~ but everyone has their burdens and challenges. Thanks so much for your honesty.

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  16. Thank you so much for all of your kind and supportive comments. I'm glad that you can appreciate this blog for what it is ... and I am so happy you enjoyed this particular post. Trying to wrap things up on a positive note! ;)

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  17. So happy for you that you get to go home! I hope your husband's team does great in the playoffs too!

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  18. Uh hello… both my hands are up. I’ve learned so much from both of you that I feel like I’ve been to school.

    Your blog paints a reality. When the word “hockey wife” emerges in conversation, most people immediately conjure up a stereotypical image of some manicured to the max vixen with the IQ of a kumquat and an air of entitlement. Honestly, I think car models get more respect than hockey wives. But you’re out to change all that and you are well on your way to accomplishing your mission. You’ve bared your soul here to show the world what it’s really like for a family living where most men who call themselves professional hockey players live… and it’s rarely in the high life and limelight. Thanks for showing us all you have this year. It also gives us no small measure of warmth and satisfaction to know that the two of you together are realistically planning for your future and the road ahead before you hit that wall that so many do when they’re unprepared for hockey retirement… forced or otherwise. Have a safe trip home today and a great summer.

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  19. I just recently found your blog after one of my random bouts of clicking and it makes me VERY happy I did so. After 18 years of being a very involved hockey fan and working for an NHL team for a few years, to finally read and know such a candid experience of a pro hockey wife is...well, I don't think there's even a word for it! You are so open and honest...it's very heartfelt and touching.

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  20. Hey!! Glad you're feeling organised and looking forward to getting home!! I'm sure you can't wait! Take care!!

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  21. I too consider my blog to be very therapeutic. Not knowing what's going to happen next is difficult. You guys are definitely headed in the right direction. Good luck heading back to the work force and even though I hope your husband gets to play hockey as long as possible, I hope your time apart feels short. You're going to be very busy so that should help to pass the time. :)

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  22. Safe travels Hockey Wife! I absolutely love your blog, so I've awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award. Please (if you have time), copy/paste this link and follow instructions: http://mnukgirl.blogspot.com/2011/03/stylish-blogger-award.html
    Looking foward to hearing from you ...and Bob's your uncle! :)

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  23. I have to say this is one of my favorite posts! Good luck with the job search... I usually worked during the off season as well, and figuring out what comes after hockey is always hard, but also comforting when you can see around the corners.

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  24. Great post - very transparent and real, which ALWAYS makes for wonderful reading. It's funny how much sports can mimic life sometimes. Not to undermine the seriousness of life itself, but in each, you have a plan, a mental checklist of things you want to see happen. Then, a bounce of the puck one way or another and the whole game plan changes. You adapt because you have to - there is no other choice.

    Please know that whatever happens, your writing here is valued by a lot of people. To that end, I think we'd all love to see the writing continue, whether hubby is a player, coach, or gym teacher. You're good at this - so keep going.

    And always...best of luck! L is lucky to be the kid he is and have the parents he has.

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  25. AESOME POST! Jordan and I are in the same boat pretty much...he hasn't finihsed his degree...not sure what he wants to do...yahty-yahta..

    We have the "talk" a lot because I think I would probably go insane if I felt like we were ignoring it. It's a very scary thing but it sounds like you guys are on the right track! Congrats about your job and I hope you guys have a great summer together!

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  26. Jodi, thanks so much! My fingers are crossed for him!

    Jen, you are too funny! I hope reading this blog isn't like going to school, yuck! And thank you for the kind words, you left such a nice comment. So sweet.

    Nikki, I'm so glad you found me! And I'm even happier that you've enjoyed reading. I'm as open and honest as I can be - not always easy but it is always rewarding. Hope you started at the beginning, it makes a lot more sense that way!

    Missy, thanks for stopping by! I'll head over to your blog tomorrow and catch up! Been busy over here! Hope you're well.

    Danielle-Marie, I need to stop by and read your most recent TM2 recap. As usual, I'm less than impressed. Thanks for the support, I truly appreciate it.

    MNUKGIRL, thanks a million! I stopped by but haven't had a chance to pass it on. Chaos over here!

    Open Eyes, grazie mille! I actually secured a job a few weeks ago - and now I'm kind of deciding between that and my old job. We'll see! You'll hear all about it, I'm sure! ... And I can't wait until we can see around a corner or two!

    JP, thank you, thank you! We certainly do adapt! This hockey business has really forced me to relinquish control of things. Goes against my nature but I don't have a choice. I am so grateful for readers like you, I appreciate that you value this work and you better believe it's going to continue ... no end in sight!

    Hillary, Kudos to you and Jordan for having 'the' talk so frequently. It's not fun but it's necessary. We're not ready for hockey to be over but sometimes you don't make those decisions and we have to be ready for the day that the hockey gods say, "nope, you're done."

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  27. Every time we travel I am so glad when we go home, I love being in my home, my place.

    It must be so hard when you don't have control over your life and reality. I am glad you get to go home now.

    Elena

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  28. Wow, love your blog... I love how much you have shared. Thanks for dropping by Adventures of 8's Blog Hop... I am starting another one tomorrow if you want to join... http://adventuresofmyfamilyof8.blogspot.com/

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