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.


xo,
Kym

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48 comments

  1. I love following your story!
    Good luck to TJ!
    xx

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  2. so fun! good luck to TJ! I really loved this post!

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  3. Amazing post and so well put! I understand the whole getting older in hockey life. I think you TJ have such a strong foundation that whatever happens after hockey will be great!!
    M xx

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  4. It's nice to be seen as someone besides an extension of our significant other, but I think in work situations that can be hard. I love that you are seeing yourself as something independent of a hockey wife, I think it will make the transition away from hockey easier when it happens.

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  5. I love this. So honest and well written! Sometimes its hard not to get caught up in those kinds of things. I think its the same for a lot of people in the military, too. But good for you girl and good luck to you guys with whatever your future holds!

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  6. I think this happens to a lot of women in a lot of different ways. For a long time I was known to a lot of people as 'Boomer's Mom' or 'Jj's Wife' never as Whitney. I think in your case it is a little different as you say most of your life together was built around the game. Good for you for finding your own way through that. I love reading about your journey, and hope you continue writing past hockey :)

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  7. coming from someone who feels like she knows you for you (not that I know you but still) i love this perspective. I can imagine that it's hard to steer clear of the "hockey wife" title and then look at the future- without hockey. I dont have answers but the fact that you can express this way tells me that you are right where you need to be!

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  8. Such a great post and so true. Being a traveling "spouse" I sometimes feel like I am just known as H's girlfriend and nothing more, can become quite frustrating.

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  9. I agree with what Kelli said about seeing yourself as you and not just a hockey wife and that it will help your transition. I cant imagine being a professional athlete's wife and worrying about them getting hurt EVERY SINGLE GAME. It takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the sport I would imagine!

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  10. This is so lovely. Especially the last quote. You seem so completely happy and in love, I don't think the vicar/priest (not sure what you guys would call him across the pond) meant anything when he asked that. I don't know you guys, and have only been following your blog for a few months but already even I can tell that you guys will obviously last.

    You have to remember, at the end of the day I (as a reader) see TJ as the 'hockey playing husband' of yours. I don't know his writing voice, I've never seen him play hockey. I don't know him apart from a few photos. I guess it's a situation flipped?! In a good way though, he has people that appreciate his personality and so do you!

    I'm sure life after hockey, for both of you ,will be just as beautiful!

    Katie <3

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  11. Such a sweet post... the love you have for your hubby is evident!

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  12. I love this post! I have been feeling the exact same way lately and am especially feeling the pressure because were at home, playing in front of friends and family, and I have secured a job that could lead into a more solid career. It really scares me at times. But at other times I'm so ready for it to be over. It will be such a huge adjustment but also an exciting adventure! I have to admit, I'm excited to be able to take vacations to warm destinations when they're meant to be taken, in the winter. We've been very fortunate to have been where we've been, done what we've done and met who we've met. Hockey will always be a part of our relationships, just in a different way.

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  13. So important to maintain who you are in a relationship- especially when it is so challenging given your husband's career! Good for you!

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  14. This post is beautifully written and I absolutely love it. I don't blame you for not going to tons of games, Tim plays men's league hockey and even those games take forever because I have to wait for him to take the ice and then to shower afterwards... I gave up going years ago.
    Also, Tim works for Microsoft and I guess 'Microspouse' is a term for the wives of Microsoft employees. Ummmm no thanks. I have my own job/thing going on, I don't need my husband's job to be a part of my identity!

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  15. I love this post- just stumbled across your blog- and totally agree with you- love is never meant to be easy.

    xox Would love for you to take part in mine and Bellas Weekend REcap!

    come stop by! Showered With Design

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  16. oh Kym,
    I love posts like this. I love and respect that you are so open.

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  17. I loveeee this post. I've always felt weird about the "hockey wife" and "hockey girlfriend" titles. They just seem so confining. It just gives me images of the Real Housewives of everywhere. I've never been that way, and I refuse to start because of some silly title. It is interesting the way you described watching games... it can be kind of stressful, anything can happen at any time. By the end of the season I'm always counting down the games.

    And that ring is so cute!

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  18. what an amazing quote, one we should all live by. And when hockey is over you will still be Mr and Mrs just with a lot more life experiences shared

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  19. I love this, Kym! It's funny how some conversations can unexpectedly make us question our identities in a way we haven't before. I know the two of you will figure it out together once you guys leave hockey behind... but for now, hope you're also enjoying yourself still!

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  20. This is so cute and not that I'm married but I've been with my guy for 2.5 years and I def believe that even though he is my best friend, it's important to keep my own identity. You explained it so well

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  21. What a wonderful post! It definitely gives you a different perspective on things.

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  22. I love this post. I played hockey my whole life, so I understand the amount of time and work that goes into that sport. I think it's great if you catch a few games each year… going to every game would be exhausting. You've got your own thing going on (you're like the best blogger in the land) and you should always embrace you. I think independence in each partner - even if it's just a little bit - makes you enjoy your time together that much more. Well said :)

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  23. I think it is great you are defining yourself as an individual while still supporting your husband and his career. It is hard that it has an "expiration" but it is good you are looking ahead.

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  24. This hit home for me as a fan during an NHL game. They had wives and girlfriends of the players doing something for charity. They introduced the ladies...and they got to one and called her "Captain SoAndSo's Girlfriend." She wasn't a Mrs. (YET) but THAT is what they called her on the public address system. And she was a grown ass woman in her 30's. I was taken aback and said "Doesn't she have a NAME?!" It just blew my mind that they said that. As a Southerner too it made me think of all the recipes in cookbooks that say "Mrs. Joe Smith" or "Mrs. Dave Jones" instead of the author's first and last name. (The ones I am referring to were written in a different time but still!) I never forgot that introduction of the gal. So I found my way here via hockey blogs but I read because you are YOU. Sure I love learning about the hockey life but I don't think of this as "TJ's wife's blog." I think "Oh that's Kym. She's a hoot! She has a bulldog and oh her husband plays hockey." Like the commenter above, I don't know your husband from hockey...I read YOU and he is "Kym's husband."

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  25. I completely agree with you! I think in order for any relationship to be successful, the relationship has to be PART of us, not all of us.
    Love that picture of you by the way... so incredibly beautiful! :)

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  26. Oh I absolutely loved reading this. Your perspective and the way you said it was so beautiful and right on point. So glad you discovered you and who you are in your marriage, what an important lesson!

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  27. I really relate to this post. I have always struggled with the term "marine wife." Now that we like here in Japan, our life basically revolves around the Marine Corps, so I have tried to take on the name a bit more. I just feel like there is so much more to me than just being a Marine Wife. Thank you for sharing this

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  28. I very much feel where your are coming from in this post, as an American married to a Swede living in Sweden I am very often just known as "the American married to Fredrik" and it is so annoying as they only ever want to know about America and very little about me as an individual.

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  29. You are too awesome Kymmy - I love you for you, with and without your hockey life! I am so proud of you both as a couple - through the ups and downs of life and hockey!! x

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  30. As a military wife, I definitely can relate to being defined by your husband's job. You're so right there's so much more to us that that! Thanks so much for sharing this perspective.

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  31. This was such a good post... I am right there with you on wanting to be known as more than just a wife. Although I love traveling for my husbands basketball career, I am so excited for life after basketball because there is so much still in the future! Enjoy it while it lasts and then a new adventure will be waiting for you two to take on! :)

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  32. Love this post and perspective. And I love that you share your journey with us!

    xxx

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  33. I love this post! Beautifully written and I love hearing about your life both as a hockey wife and as an awesome blogger!

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  34. OH man do I feel ya! It's been a struggle for me too. When I started my blog I made sure to not have mom or wife or basketball or anything like that in the title. I wanted to be known as something other than Lavar's wife or Tae & Eli's mom. I needed my own thing!! I feel ya, Go get it, girl! :)

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  35. wait, why don't you want to be known as 'ex hockey wife'... I think that is a great description of all you are as a person ;)

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  36. I just love this. I can fully understand why you don't want to be considered just a "hockey wife". It essentially suggests that your life is just that and not so much more, which you very much are! You're a wonderful woman who happens to be married to a hockey player!

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  37. Ah Kym, this is beautiful! Just beautiful.
    Also, on a similar note... just look at what TJ is to all of us. He's a "blog husband". So, there. HA! ;) Love your gorgeous face.

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  38. Such a great post, Kym. I think for me I'm uncomfortable with the idea of my main identity being anyone's wife. That is a huge part of me, yes, but it is only a part of who I am and doesn't make up my personality or my life. It doesn't define me. Sounds like you feel the same toward hockey!

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  39. Loved this post! Thank you for being yourself- truthful and genuine- here on your blog.

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  40. This is amazing. This is a perspective that I have never seen before and I praise you for being open and honest about how you feel! Xoxo.

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  41. Loved this post...so honest and true and refreshing. Beautifully worded. You may not know what life has in store for you after hockey but we all know you will be just fine! Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

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  42. I loved this.

    This reminded me a lot about what it was like to be married to someone who was in the military. Everything I did on base was as so-and-so's wife. It was absolutely ridiculous, and I felt like I never mattered. It was kind of traumatic to be honest, because I got married so young. I had no idea who I was MYSELF, and then here I was, with so much of my identity belonging to someone else. It's strange.

    I agree with so many other readers that I've never thought of you as a hockey wife. I know that's what your husband does, but it's never been part of YOUR identity to me. You're Kym, and the originator of "douche-kabob."

    Which, admittedly, I say frequently these days.

    All that said, you do have a unique story, and I love how you own it while still owning yourself.

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  43. Great post! I always wondered about having a title like "hockey wife." I love following your story. :)

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  44. So beautifully written. I feel like so many people do embrace these "titles". And sure it can sound cute/be fun or whatever but it is so important to have your own identity. I love reading about your journey :)

    XO,
    ashieldannette.blogspot.com

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I love reading your thoughts and opinions and I do try to answer all comments and questions. If you would like to contact me directly feel free to email me at kymberly_fox@yahoo.com, on Instagram @kymberly_fox, or at Facebook.com/KymFox86 :)

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