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.