The dreaded “R” word.
It’s coming – whether you’re prepared for it or not. But here’s the thing, sometimes the best decision could be the “lets hang ’em up” decision. Hear me out….
Every hockey wife’s fear, concern and worry (Lord knows I felt them all the first week after leaving home) other than the dreaded “I’ve been traded talk” is the “is hockey over now or what??” talk.
Matt was a goalie for the Mississippi Riverkings in the SPHL. I was a stay at home full time mom to two boys. At the end of summer 2013 I packed up my home in a u-hual and off we went to Southaven Mississippi. This was the first time in our relationship that I would be leaving my life in Winnipeg and following Matt so he could continue to chase his dreams. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I was sure to find out. As quickly as the season began it was over, and we were face to face with a future completely unknown.
Let’s be honest here, I love Matt and I will support him in whatever he chooses to do HOWEVER I’d be lying if throughout the season I didn’t think to myself “When will this season be over?” -OK maybe sometimes I was thinking out loud….BUT I’m sure we’ve all been there. Sometimes, enough is enough.
As any hockey wife knows (I’m not a wife yet but we all call ourselves that, after all how dumb does hockey fiancé sound??) a season can end in 60 minutes, regardless if you’re ready for it or not. This became our reality two years ago that weekend we traveled to watch the Riverkings play in Huntsville, Alabama – beautiful place by the way! Ya’ll should totally visit!! Anyways, the Riverkings lost a heartbreaking game and Matt decided to “hang it up” aka retire. We could finally “start a life”. Which sounded exciting to me – then reality set in.
No place to live =STRESS.
No income anymore.
Once again, I was packing our life in a u-haul and I knew we had a 3 day road-trip back home to figure it all out. We did exactly that. Thank God we had family back home to help us on our new journey. They were able to check out places and help us get everything sorted out while we were on our way home. Even when everything appears to be completely a mess things eventually fall into place.
When Matt decided that he would be done with pro hockey it was bittersweet. We were closing one long chapter and starting a new one. I was scared that once the season started back up again and he wasn’t returning he’d be depressed and miserable (I’ve heard horror stories post-hockey) but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated! Of course he had his days, but I lucked out and I think it’s because his retirement was on his terms. You can’t force a hockey player to quit -this sport is really their first true love and most of the time during the hockey season you come second…that’s just the way she goes!
I occasionally miss the chaotic game nights with two boys under the age of three and trying to keep them semi still for three hours. I also miss meeting new people and visiting new places. Most of all, I am so grateful for the amazing friendships I made, those people really do become your immediate family and the relationships will last a lifetime.
Now that we’ve settled into our home and Matt has started a new career which he loves, the boys are healthy and happy and we’re surrounded by family and friends that we love so much I can honestly say that I’m happy and content with the decision we made. I’m happy with where we are and I’m excited for where we’re headed. Our journey – your journey is not easy but SO worth every crazy minute of it! Embrace the craziness and the uncertainty every hockey season brings. The one thing I’ll leave you with is even though the season seems like it’ll never end, and it may be overwhelming, remember, this chapter will end before you know it so soak it all up because that roller coaster ride is a crazy one but looking back its also a pretty frickin’ amazing one!