Our lives changed that February in more ways than I could have ever imagined, or, as it turned out, handle.
I met my Coach as a freshman in high school from a dirt road town, and by the beginning of my senior year, I knew he'd be the one I'd walk down the aisle to. Throughout our now 14 year relationship and five year marriage, I've cheered him on as a catcher, pitcher, outfielder, third baseman, short-stop, JV coach, assistant varsity coach, and offensive coordinator (you read that right, that's a football term). For as long as I can remember, the diamonds talked about around here are the kind lined with chalk and boasting fresh cut grass. Baseball has been our life - through high school, college, and life after that - but the boys of fall have recently made their debut as well.
I used to daydream as I watched him play, of someday sitting on those same bleachers to watch him coach. It was a glamorous role in my naive little mind, Coach's Wife. Players would know me by name. Parents would ask when they didn't see me in the crowd. The other coaches' wives and I would share stories over drinks at ladies night out. My babies would grow up in the dugout. Oh, it was going to be something else, and I just couldn't wait.
Heading into my third season, I now know what that something else looks like, and it's definitely something else. I'm not sure if the players even know I'm the coach's wife, let alone my name. Sometimes the parents do talk to me but that's only because my kid's super cute. And the other coaches' wives? I'm lucky if I see them at the awards banquet after the season wraps; turns out ladies nights are non-existent when your husbands are at the field until 8 or 9 o'clock every night and someone has to be home to feed those darn tiny humans.
To say that I floundered in my first two years as a Coach's Wife would be an understatement. My Coach has been at it for far longer than February 2013 in various forms, at various levels, for various sports, but this was his first full-time, assistant coach title, real responsibilities kind of position, and I wasn't prepared to lose my husband and gain a child all in one month's time.
My Coach was busy, so I focused all of my energy on this tiny person who was depending on me to keep him alive. I lost any other identity I may have had before "mom," and considering "Coach's Wife" was the newest added to the list, it was the first to go. It's hard to fill the shoes of a coach's wife when you sluff off the role of being a wife all together. I was a mom, and without even realizing it, that's all I was.
This season will be different though. It took me some time to figure things out and find myself in this new reality of ours, but this is my year. It has to be. Being a part of it all is what keeps me sane, keeps me supportive, keeps me far away from the nasty little resentment bug.
I've had a chance to learn the ropes of this Coach's Wife gig. To let reality take the place of my fantasy, and know that six months out of the year, I own the single mom card. To understand that if it's May and the lawn needs mowed, I better pay the kid down the street or do it myself. To get used to cooking dinner and eating once with my son when it's hot, and again with my husband when it needs to be reheated. To get good at sending good night kisses through photos and FaceTime. To embrace game days with all the maroon and gold I own and cherish my afternoons at the field. To accept the fact that for the next six or seven months, I will do laundry every day because "look good, feel good; feel good, play good." And to humbly welcome it all with grace and gratitude because this is what I signed up for. This is one of the many reasons why I married the Coach I call my husband - for his passion and dedication.
And even though sometimes I don't show it like I mean to, this is every bit the life I dreamed of.
All that being shared, I encourage...no beg you to share your story. This blog has been stewing in my head for a year or so now, and I finally took the plunge to write my first post - to begin to share my story - out of inspiration for more. I hit a rough spot a couple months back and went searching for "How to be a Coach's Wife" resources. I did find some stories from women of the SEC, and it was great to read about their lives and understand that I'm not alone; this is just how it works. But, I wanted more; I wanted a community of women who just "got it," and more than anything I wanted an outlet. I thought maybe, just maybe, there are other newbie coach's wives, or women in similar situations out there struggling to get a grasp on the daily routine just the same who might find shelter in this blog, and so it began...