February 10, 2014

He Offered Her The World And She Said She Had Her Own

TJ's arena was in use the entire month of January, so I hadn't stepped foot inside of it since late December. For the first time in a long time, I was actually excited this past weekend to watch a game.

I know that sounds bitchy of me ... but after spending approximately 10% of the last seven seasons freezing my ass off in rinks and waiting for what feels like hours for TJ to emerge from locker rooms ... it sort of just becomes a routine, you know? 

I don't walk into the arena and watch the same game that the regular spectator does. I watch my husband at work ... and I watch the game from a very different pair of eyes - ones that fear the worst every time he's slammed into the boards and down onto the ice because I immediately think that he's got a concussion ... and ones that fear the worst when he misses a pass or the net and I envision him meeting me after the game with his bag thrown over his shoulder telling me that it's time to go home.
Because that's hockey for us. It's not just a Friday or Saturday night out.

Snuggled up warm and cozy at the rink with my cowl from HappyKnits
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TJ is turning thirty in June ... and I've recently found myself thinking about what life after hockey will be like. He's not a spring chicken anymore ... I know, I know, every time I try to explain this to someone who isn't familiar with how hockey works, they just laugh at me ... but now that he's played X-amount of games and he's considered a "veteran", there are only four spots on every team here in the States for him to play on ... and the true reality is that he is becoming old balls when there are 18, 19 ... 23, 24, 25 year olds who are trying to find their place in the hockey world, too. 

When TJ and I met with the man who married us a year and a half ago, he asked us many questions to learn more about us both individually and as a couple. We found ourselves explaining how we met, where we've lived, our accomplishments, our goals ... and when we were finished, the man said something so poignant that has stuck with me word for word ever since: "So much of the dynamics of your relationship have revolved around hockey, what will become of it once hockey is over?"
TJ and I both looked at one another and we couldn't find an answer. 

Don't get me wrong, our relationship is built on a solid foundation of friendship, love and respect ... but the structure, the floors, and the walls ... many of them have been built around hockey seasons and schedules and moves and navigating together through the highs and lows of "living the hockey life" ... so much so, that it's difficult to imagine what our life will be like once this chapter of our lives is closed.

Cheering on #13 this weekend with my ring from Gem & Blue
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No one probably noticed this except for me, but after our meeting with the JP, things within me and around here started to change. I no longer promoted myself as a "hockey wife" which was a "title" that I had embraced and that had worked for so long for both me and one of my best friends when we began marketing ourselves in an uncharted "hockey wife blogger" territory for over two years.

You see ... I no longer felt like being a "hockey wife" was an honor or a privilege or a title.

Because, I mean really ... what does "hockey wife" even mean? I'm not married to the game of hockey. I'm married to a man who just so happens to play professional hockey. And one day, it's all going to end. What will that make me? An ex-hockey wife? Ew. No thanks.

After we were married TJ went on to play for a team where everyone from a few of his teammates to the fans to the front office addressed me as "Mrs. Fox" - thumbs up for the respect and pseudo-acknowledgement ... but not one person ever bothered to get to know me as more than "Mrs. Fox." I was just TJ's sidekick ... his behind the scenes counterpart ... his "hockey wife" ... and it was suddenly beyond irritating.

And that was the year that sealed the deal, where I relinquished the "title", and when I decided that I never, ever want to be known as a "hockey wife" ever again.

I am the wife to a man whom I love "to the moon and back times infinity" ... and this blog is simply where I share our story.


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