On Love and Loss and Growing Up

When our first daughter was a few months old, we introduced her to her lovey. To the uninitiated, a lovey is some form of silky or soft blanket usually with the detached head of an animal attached to it…though it’s not as grotesque as I just made that sound.

I don’t know why we waited so long to introduce the lovey, probably because that was when we still held on to the idea that we had any sort of control over anything that happened in her life. Like how we checked the box in the hospital that said ‘no pacifier to be given’ only to be frantically pushing the nurse call button approximately 3 hours later while screaming ‘PACIFIER! BRING THE PACIFIER! BRING SEVERAL! HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE? BRING THOSE!’ And the pacifier lasted the next 5 years. We know nothing. We control nothing.

Anyway, after what I imagine was a 2am Google session ‘why is my baby not sleeping will I die from this’ we dug the lovey out of a box of as yet unused gifts. I would set the lovey on her, between her hands, whenever I nursed her. Which was always and infinity plus forever.

And it worked. It really worked. She fell in love with the lovey, creatively named Bunny because, well, it had a dismembered bunny head attached to the blankie part. As it turns out she was a pretty decent sleeper anyway (thanks, perspective and hindsight!) and Bunny made things even better.

Bunny had other uses as well. He soothed her in the car, a place she hated with the heat of 10,000 suns until she was almost 1 and 1/2 years old. He comforted her after shots, during a fever, after a particularly scary game of peek-a-boo. He made her smile, she stroked his silky underbelly (“the green”) and tweaked his furry topside and he came absolutely everywhere with us. And by ‘came’ I mean ‘comes’ because she is 5 and this guy still lives on, thanks to several head re-attachment surgeries done by yours truly.

It wasn’t long after we introduced her to Bunny that we realized the problem with our plan. Bunny was a gift, made by a friend, and therefore seemed special.

But that is what made him TOO special. Special as in unique. TOO unique. Literally one-of-a-kind. He was irreplaceable. And so began the still ongoing period of our lives where the only thing I keep a closer eye on in an airport than Bunny is our actual child. Children. If we were evacuating this country I’d say the only things I really need are the children and the bunny. I see those backpacks with leashes on them that people use on their kids and I think “I need this for Bunny.”

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I took both my girls, then 3 years old and 2 months old respectively, on a day trip to Tokyo in late February 2014. No one knows why I embark on these misadventures but we can only assume it’s some kind of missing piece of genetic code.

It was a sweaty, furious day of trains, Indian food and hockey games. Ves was a champ, as she tends to be on an adventure, and ran herself ragged. But at the end of the night she was tired, so tired, so as we waited for Dave to come out and take us on the team bus, she sat with her Bunny on the curb. Stroking the green, holding him with a tenderness that will bring a tear to your eye if I describe it in too much detail so I’ll spare you that.

An hour or so later, once the excitement of being on a bus with a bunch of hockey players had worn off, our big girl was over it. She wanted to get cozy and shut down. So she asked for Bunny. But he wasn’t on the seat. Or in the bag. Or my pocket. Or Dave’s pocket. Or anywhere. Dave kept up the search, but I knew after a few minutes. Bunny was gone. Lost at night. In the rain. On the streets of Tokyo.

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What ensued next was a panicked parenting brainstorming session. How do we tell her? Do we lie? Do we run to the front of the bus and jerk the wheel into a concrete barricade to end all our suffering? All options were considered.

The other import players on this bus stared on in horror, childless and unencumbered by the weight of keeping track of Bunny, but also feeling very unlucky to even be involved in this situation at all.

First they tried to ease the tension with jokes. No one was laughing.

Then they tried to comfort our child with distraction, which showed just how little they understood the gravity of it all.

Then they put their headphones in and probably said something to themselves that started with “When I have kids I’ll never…” and you know what you guys?! Famous last words. Famous. Last. Words.

We told her the truth. And she handled it how you’d expect someone to deal with the news of the loss of their best friend. She wept. Quietly. She leaned her tiny head against the glass of the bus window and lamented:

Bunny will be so lonely. It’s so dark. It’s raining.

Bunny is a part of me. How can he be gone? We are part of each other.

I love Bunny. I love him and I can’t sleep without him. 

I’m a fully formed adult with highly honed rationalization skills, yet I held back tears through burning eyes and a bit lip. Plus that last one really felt like a threat and mama is tired you guys. Mama is so tired.

On the bus was one other mother, my lovely friend Yukina. A mother who didn’t understand most of the words we were saying but understood the pain of my baby crying.

Without us knowing, she texted a friend. And her friend, who I had never met in my entire life, left her warm, dry apartment at 10pm on a Sunday night, took the subway, and embarked on a search for Bunny outside in the rain. She enlisted a security guard and his flashlight. And she found him.

SHE FUCKING FOUND HIM ARE YOU GETTING THAT!?

Yukina called to me from the front of the bus and held up her phone. On the screen was a picture of Bunny, wet and dirty and sitting on a barren table. Like a ransom photo from the next Taken movie. This anonymous savior overnighted Bunny to us the next day. No mail was ever as anticipated or appreciated.

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Almost two years later I took my girls on a trip to Seattle from Tokyo. We packed Bunny safely in the bottom of Vesper’s backpack. She checked him once, twice, before we left for the airport.

For the rest of the trip I didn’t worry about him. Because she never took him out. She slept with her sister in her arms, her hands empty. She didn’t ask for him when she got nervous in the Space Needle. She didn’t cry for him when she skinned her knee doing her signature dangerous running.

I wanted to feel free from the burden of watching over Bunny. I wanted to feel liberated from the insane amount of body odor that searching for that bastard has given me. I wanted to feel joy that she had grown up and out of Bunny in a natural way.

But I was sad. Because she’s growing up fast and she’s letting go of baby things. Because she isn’t a baby. And it’s wonderful and I’m glad but shit. Shit. Damn.

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A few days ago Vesper was having a tough one. A hard day. Numerous injustices had befallen her, mostly related to having to share with her sister and being denied cupcakes. Her nerves were already on edge when she took a spill on her scooter. And that was it. Hysteria.

I sat with her, rubbing her back, waiting since waiting is all you can really do. Finally she gathered her voice enough to say Mommy, I need Bunny.  

We dug him out of the backpack where he’d waited. She hugged him, stroked the green, took in his smell. She held him in her hands. Not the chubby, dimpled hands of a baby. But the slender, scraped up hands of a small girl. She stopped crying.

We were both happy.

 

 

Free Shrugs

*this is one of 147 drafts in my ‘drafts’ folder of this blog…Hi My Name Is Lane and I Can’t Follow Through* 

I was talking to a friend on the phone last night. Sharing our troubles and hearing her laugh and laughing myself. And I cried a little. Out of joy or pain or general confusion and overwhelming joy for how much I love this person.

Then she said “Why do I love telling you my problems? You almost NEVER give me a clear answer about what I should do.”

And we both laughed. (did I mention I’m very hilarious) Because I don’t. I’m a very helpful friend.

The truth is that I love to talk. Oh my gosh do I love to talk. But the only thing I love more than talking is listening. With brief pauses of the sound of my voice to ask more questions. I have so many questions. And if you are willing to answer them, I’d love to listen. To listen to you. I am happy to hear anything you want to tell me, and I’m even happier if you want to know what I think. I have so many ideas. To share.

If you come to me to talk something out or ask for help, I might just:

  • share my experiences, in glaring detail, many of which are likely to make you feel better about yourself
  • give advice on what I might have done, or what I might not have done, but what we probably both should have done and did not do
  • send links to articles I have read or blogs that are relevant
  • create an inspirational string of emojis just for the occasion, almost always ending with dancing-cat-twin-ladies because we are ALIVE goddamnit let’s celebrate
  • google it
  • tell you have no earthly idea what to say but man do I love you…SO much…did I mention I love you and have no idea what you should do?

It’s not that I didn’t give her cut and dried directions and advice because I don’t have strong feelings or large opinions. Oh, I have strong feelings. Feelings that come out like fire and opinions that I unintentionally deliver like a slap. I have lists of things ‘not to be believed’ and bookmarks of ‘position papers written by someone else that I could have written if I were that smart.’ Sometimes I wish, just for a moment, that I felt LESS about ANYTHING. That I just thought ‘meh’ like all the kids are texting to each other these days.

Can you imagine being that free? Global warming? meh. Equal pay? meh. Misogyny in pop music? meh.

My real answers to those issues start with !!!!!! and end with #$&*&&**@(($.

But my firmest stance can almost always be softened (just a touch) by a person possessing the patience to wait for the noise of my idea to die down enough for them to insert a logical counterpoint. A measured contradiction.

I don’t love being wrong, but I obey logic. Throw some at me, I can’t dismiss it. It’s a physical impossibility. Like gravity or me having a good hair day. Laws of nature.

I live in and for the gray area, doing my best to draw always disappearing lines in the sand of that area. I draw the lines for the joy of feeling clarity, and I watch them disappear with an appreciation for all the conversations that lay in the area of irresoluteness.

Perhaps it’s how it always has been, but there seems to be a pressure in life to be in the black and white. When almost nothing is. And instead of embracing that freedom, we cling harder to the idea of delineation. There is right and wrong. Liberal or Conservative. Breastfed or Bottles. Red Vines or Twizzlers. We push back and plug our ears when our position is questioned instead of just listening, accepting, changing and realizing that in all of the above cases all of the interesting realizations, all the juicy conversations, all the chances to show someone love and compassion, lie in the gray area. Except the licorice thing. Twizzlers are garbage don’t try to argue.

And this long convoluted explanation is the answer to why my friend comes to me to talk, to ask, to wonder, even when I don’t give her a yes or a no. A stay or a go. Because she knows, probably always knew, that there is something to both sides.

She comes for the fire of my indignation (always indignant, that’s my thing) and the freedom of my shrug.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! YOU SHOULD NOT STAND FOR IT! But it’s complicated…so tough…maybe just wait it out? SUCH BULLSHIT THOUGH. *confused shrug*

Available for consultations on your problems.

 

 

The Heart, Yet It Beats

Oh hi.

I’ve been absent from blogging for a while. Did you notice? (some of you did, some of you that I don’t even know so thank you for your sweet messages and concern, and some of you that I do know I’m looking at you, Brooke!)

A month became a few months became six months and more. Months that I’d love to explain away with something glamorous and adventurous.

Nothing specific comes to mind.

I went to Germany to see my sister become a mother and eat Ritter Sport to the point of nauseousness. And back to Japan to see spring begin. Then back to Michigan to dive deeper into a long Northern Michigan winter. Then a quick stop in Manitoban spring which is very akin to winter. A trip to California where it rained and I saw an Elvis Perkins concert, a jaunt to Vail where ice water was dumped on my head by the god(s) as I got ready to ride up a gondola to a fancy wedding. The short glorious summer of the UP where I sat on the porch and laid on the beach and sand was everywhere. And now I’m back in Japan again just in time for typhoon season, then off to South Korea soon to find out how spicy I can handle my cabbage based foods.

So maybe there was some adventure. And certainly plenty to write about. But for some reason I couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.

I’ve started about six posts since the last time I published anything here. I started. And stopped. Metaphorically crumpling each draft into a ball and tossing it into the corner. But nothing that came out seemed right.

Even now, inside me here is so much to say, things to share, and yet I haven’t. Couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And what’s the difference really.

It’s not like this blog means anything much in the wider world. But it’s always been a place where I’ve come to share some slice, some tiny itty bitty slice, of all the things going on inside my mind. A place where people who know me could see me in a different way. Where people who don’t know me well get to know me better. Where people I didn’t know at all have found me and we’ve become friends.

When I was 16, I thought I was an adult. I kept a journal, an item that still exists but which is always at risk of me starting it on fire ceremoniously. I was a pretty boring kid by Lifetime Movie Network standards, but I had a lot going on in my mind. Dark, funny, complicated things that many 16 year olds probably think about but most don’t have the guts to bring up to their friends who are likely idiots. And certainly many have the sense not to write these thoughts down because it just leaves an unnecessary record of your angst.

In that journal I was annoying and used logical fallacies and waxed poetic about the texture of my hair. But I also had some incredibly insightful moments, expressed understanding of some painful truths that are best learnt early, and took joy in the beauty of the bleakness of life and existence. It was part 90210, part Kierkegaard.

Every year since then I’ve become less confident in my adultness, more accepting of the texture of my hair. I’ve trained myself to recognize logical fallacies and I’ve never felt more joy about the beautiful bleakness as I do now. And even though no one would accuse me of holding back my feelings very often, as an actual adult I also haven’t had the pleasure to regularly be as me as the me in that journal. To lay it all out there unapologetically. Without being self conscious. To give the same credence to matters of ‘does Jeff like me?’ (he didn’t) as to the concern of our inevitable mortality (pretty inevitable). I wrote about the genius of putting Seaquest DSV and Earth 2 back to back on Sunday night TV (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you basically wasted 1994 and you can never get it back) and on the next page wrote hundreds of words about the way industrialized countries thrived on third world slavery. Since the demises of that journal, I didn’t have that kind of expressive freedom.

Except for every now and then. In this blog. Silly as that may sound.

And quickly and quite easily the days, weeks and months crept by and the blog seemed dead. Just like the journal, maybe I outgrew it. Maybe it no longer served the purpose I needed it to. So I left it, rarely ever logged in, considered the 140 drafts to be ghosts and the hundreds of posts that already exist to be fossils.

But here I am. So what changed?

Nothing. Or everything. Who even knows the difference. Maybe the blog is dead, and this is just me doing CPR on a corpse. But that journal, as amazing and hilarious and painful and generally humiliating as it can be, is a nice record to have. I can’t remember why I stopped writing, but I know I tried for a long time to keep it up even after it didn’t come as easily anymore. And in some of those entries that I had to squeeze out there are some quality moments. And I’m glad I have them.

So just in case, here goes. Consider this the chest compressions. 

A Little Bit Weird

It can be really easy to get bogged down in the daily work of parenting. It’s incredibly difficult and incredibly boring all in one breath. Your child is amazing creature who inspires wonder in one moment and demon spawn who inspires homicidal rage the next. My hair is never combed and I’m far too involved in the plot lines of Peg + Cat. Insert meme about stepping on legos and eating cold pasta over the sink.

But once in a while, sometimes even every day, you get a chance to take the long view for a moment. To just step back and see an actual human being developing and creating and becoming. And it is god damn amazing if I do say so. To see the wild free beast we all are before we get hammered down a bit.

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I had this awkward stage that lasted approximately one…DECADE. Not one year, one entire decade. (at this point in the story my sister would add “or so.”) At the time I believed it was because I was a little odd and a bit volatile and there was always the issue of WTF is going on with my hair. Subsequently I made things more awkward by trying to hide the oddness and dampen the volatility and somehow conceal the texture of the hair.

I laugh about it now because I’m almost 15 years out of that stage and because I can see the pictures and I do have a sense of humor and weeping about your Birkenstocks with sandals phase makes you seem pathetic. But at the time it occasionally made me quite sad. And led me to act in ways that were not in alignment with my own beliefs. I know because I kept a journal that I wrote while dictating aloud to my cat who I believed was the only being who understood the true me. For real.


One of my biggest parenting goals is to make sure my kids are as weird as they want to be. As weird as they feel inside. I now wear my weirdness on the outside, and not in an ironic hipster way like Smurfy winter hats worn in summer and bacon flavored ice cream. I simply just put it out there. I let ME out. My strange jokes. The voices that go with certain phrases. The way my volume and my blood pressure raise when discussing certain topics. I do it because it feels good and because I want my kids to see the joyful irreverence that comes with that kind of openness.

I hope they can do the same. I hope they can do it earlier and more often than I have. I hope they don’t spend a decade (or so) trying to figure out where to put the things they don’t know how to make fit. I know that if I accomplish this they will, at times, maybe need to write sad thoughts in a journal. {note to self: adopt empathetic cat}


Vesper is a child of the digital age and therefore loves taking pictures. She uses the world selfie like it’s the most normal thing you could do. She adds filters expertly. She holds the DSLR in her hands, dimpled knuckles tightly clenched, focusing in on her subject.

She recently told me that when she takes pictures she can decide what to call them based on the way someone is looking at her through the lens. She, essentially, writes captions. There is a picture of her from almost 3 years ago pinned to the wall near where I work at home, she told me it says ‘What do I do with all these teeth?’

A picture of her holding her little sister from the summer is telling her ‘Babies can’t sit up but we can help them.’ A picture of my sister on her wedding day says ‘Fancy things make her happy and we are pretty when we are happy.’

While we were visiting my sister recently, she took a picture of her newest cousin and told me he was thinking ‘It’s cold out here.’ I think she meant at the park where she took the picture, but shit if that isn’t just the motto of life. Everyone’s life.

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She took a picture of me in the hotel room a few weeks ago. She made me take my earrings off. She had me put my sunglasses on. She told me not to ‘let my teeth show.’ When I asked her what she thought about the title of that picture she said ‘a little bit weird.’ Yes honey, just a little bit.

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On A Walk(s): New Years Day 2015

*It seems like we have inadvertently started a tradition. A walk on New Year’s Day. A slow walk, without much direction, taking in the sights of a country that truly comes out and reveres the fresh start of January 1st. We take walks all the time, but on New Year’s Day we do it before we even eat breakfast. We throw jackets over our jammies and off we go to walk the quiet streets filled with the smell of wood smoke. DSC_0525

We aren’t religious people. But if you live in Japan you start the new year at a shrine. Any shrine. Within a 10 minute walk from our house there are at least 3 shrines that are kept up by the local neighborhoods and countless individual shrines next to gardens and garages. In the technical sense the Japanese aren’t considered religious either, but you wouldn’t guess that on January 1st. The shrines come alive on New Year’s Eve and Day with people paying respects, buying good luck trinkets, making their prayer or wish for the new year. Not religion, really, but ritual. Tradition.
DSC_0526We clean our hands and make our offering. Bow twice, clap twice, bow again and then ring the bell. 
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I respect the ritual and the reverence of these traditions in the same way I can appreciate the sense of meditation that people find in the cavernous beauty of a cathedral. I don’t believe any supernatural being is hearing my wish, but I do believe in the power of intention. The power of starting new, even in a symbolic way.  Continue reading “On A Walk(s): New Years Day 2015”

What’s More Exhausting Than Lack Of Sleep

My sister is having a baby soon. Very, very soon. My baby, tiny, little sister. A human baby. I’m still having trouble letting that sink in.

Last night Dave and I were Skyping with her and somehow the topic slipped from her website and height differentials in wedding photos to our kids and how tired they make us. (spoiler: very, very tired.) And she asked in the pleading way that someone who already knows the answer to a question asks, ‘but it’s all worth it, right?’ And we both stifled a yawn and were like YES, OMG yes, worth it. Yes. Very.

And we meant it. It is. There are a million mother-bloggers who have written about this a million ways and I would link them all here but I’m too tired but just trust me. They said it better than I could. Worth it? Check.

Somehow when I end up talking to people about kids, my kids, having kids, not having kids, the topic of sleep and not sleeping comes to the fore. And after I talked to my sister last night I laid in bed listening to the heavy breath of my 4 year old who still sleeps with a pacifier and finds a way to put any pointy part of her body into any soft part of mine. I lay there listening to my 1 year old cry out in her sleep as she struggled to settle after keeping them up past bedtime ONE night out of the last 40 ::never again!::. I lay there with my lists running through my mind and the clock getting later and later and I thought that the one thing I wish I could explain to my sister is that we are so very tired and we don’t get enough sleep, but the lack of sleep isn’t what exhausts me the most. But I can’t explain it, and I won’t try. But soon she’ll know.

It’s also not the endless games of “Elsa and Anna rescue Rudolph with a bow and arrow ” ad infinitum where the tedium of the specifics of her rules and the script of this game make you think you mind will simply bust out of your skull in protest of the boredom.

It’s not the way baby O finds a way to cling to my leg with the strongest, tiniest, chubbiest dimpled pinching fingers on the planet Earth any time I try to move more than 4 feet away from her.

It’s not the diaper changing or the wiping of butts. It’s not the tantrums on the floor of the sushi restaurant. Or the shrieks of a teething child. It’s not endless loops of the rink with V or standing guard while O navigates the stairs for the 314th time that day.

All of those things are tiring. And the lack of sleep is, perhaps, the most tangible thing we can name. The most hopeful aspect of life we can dream to reclaim. We are tired NOW, but we will sleep later.

They are small now, but they will grow up later. We won’t always be wiping butts or role-playing for hours. It’s finite. It ends.

And maybe we cling to those things and name those factors because it’s less terrifying than admitting that our exhaustion comes from a deeper place. That while my mom sleeps all night and wipes zero butts, she is still tired.

It isn’t the sleep. It’s the vulnerability.

Since the day V was born my heart has been walking around outside my body. She is subject to pain. Physical pain and illness. Accidents. Tragedies. She is subject to emotional pain. Rejection. Heartbreak. Anger. My girls live in the world, the horrible, awful, glorious world that I love and hate so much. And I can’t keep them safe. A baby gate won’t touch the legions of boogeymen that are out there. The overt and the covert. The subtle and the striking. I can stay up with them all night every night until they leave my house and it still won’t do a thing to prevent a thing. And it’s exhausting.

I want to be a zen, accepting, earth mother person. I want to say PAIN IS BEAUTIFUL and we are HUMAN and isn’t it grand that they will experience all these things and grow and heal and change and I can be here to witness, to support. I want to be that person. I want to embody that sentiment. And I manage it sometimes, once in a while, occasionally and on those 3 seconds per month I pat myself HARD on the back.

But in all the other seconds in the month, I feel very exposed. I feel like all my skin and most of my skeleton is gone and all my juicy organs are available for the vultures to seek and destroy. All in the name of love. Of family. Of life. And it’s exhausting.

Sometimes I don’t sleep well at night. Up and down 10 times. A baby with a fever, a toddler with a nightmare, someone is thirsty, someone needs me. And when I wake up I’m tired. Sometimes this goes on for a week. And I’m very, very tired. And these are the moments I cling to the hope that this tired feeling will relent someday, they will sleep, I will sleep. We will be rested. And I say it but I know it’s not 100% true. They will be rested. But I will be vulnerable. And it’s exhausting.

I know many women who are mothers. I know mothers who have birthed babies that were not alive. I know mothers that have held their children as they wailed through the agony of cancer treatment. I know mothers who have buried their adult children. I know mothers who have lost a child to disagreement. To cultural differences. To drugs. And the the tiredness in their eyes when they tell me their stories trumps a week, a month, a year of what I’ve ever known. They had a baby and their heart moved outside of their body. And life took it’s course, and their vulnerability was assaulted. And it’s exhausting.

I write all this and see that if I were reading it before I had kids, I would say HOW can this all be worth it? And I don’t really know how to answer. I can’t explain it, and I’m almost never at a loss for words. But the joy I feel to live with these children, to see them grow, to watch them live is very real. It’s happening now. It’s not a threat of something that could happen, it is in fact the daily events of my life. The vulnerability is also real, but not a promise, not here in front of me, far enough in the periphery that I can’t see it when my eyes are squinted in a smile.

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The Wife Of Someone Who Plays Hockey {not a hockey wife}

Perhaps the subtitle of this blog should be ‘Lane talks about sisterhood until you can’t stand it anymore.’ Because here I am again.

Our particular lifestyle leads to a certain kind of isolation. We move. A lot. We stay in touch with our friends, but we can’t take them with us. Which means every season we find ourselves together with a new group of people, and those people (no matter who they are) are the most viable candidates for any hope you have at a social life. For North American hockey families who live overseas, particularly in countries where English isn’t the language, the group of other players and their families is even more important.

The ‘imports’ on the team are sort of thrown together, in new situations far away from home with little to no access to the comfort foods to which you’ve become accustomed. Most of us are in this hockey life by choice. There are some amazing benefits. The travel. The adventure. Supporting a partner as they live their dream. The flexibility. The excitement.

But like any choice in life, this particular path has it’s rocky points. Uncertainty. Homesickness. Instability. Lonliness. Watching your partner struggle with the inevitable transition out of this lifestyle. Flying coach. Flying coach for 25 hours.

One of the best antidotes to all of those hardships is the sisterhood of other women who are living this same life. Who understand the ups and downs. Who feel both joy and pain as one season turns into another. Who give up so much willingly and accept all the unknown openly.

Dave is my co-pilot on this journey, I have his back, he has mine. But he doesn’t always get it. Because while we share many struggles specific to hockey life, he can’t understand what it’s like to play the supporting role. He doesn’t know what it’s like to watch him have to negotiate for his own worth each year. He hasn’t had to put his career on hold and say goodbye to his friends to follow my dreams (yet). And so for those things, I turn to my sisters in hockeydom for camaraderie. And complaining. Camaraderie and complaining in an alternating pattern.

The ladies of this sisterhood often refer to themselves as “hockey wives”. They name their blogs using this term, make cute play-off t-shirts with it emblazoned on the back , create support group on Facebook with this label. And as much as I love the idea of embracing our shared experience, I have a very hard time sharing the affection for this term.

“Hockey wife” isn’t an identity I readily use to describe myself. It rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know of any other professions, besides other sports or the military, where people commonly identify themselves as a group and with a title that only describes their spouses profession. And perhaps this strikes me as particularly unfair because professional hockey remains a men-only domain. So even if the defining-yourself-by-your-partner bit didn’t feel odd, the fact that there are no hockey husbands rustles my feminist feathers. It’s hetero-normative and patriarchal and…you don’t really want me to start in on this rant, do you?

When I feel myself bristling at this term, I ask myself why I let it upset me. My answer goes something like: I am not Dave. I am not defined by Dave. Even more than that, I am not defined by Dave’s profession. I can say that all day long and while it is essentially true, it’s also not true. In this particular profession, because of the way you have to let it encompass your whole life, I am defined by it. We have to move to where Dave gets a contract. I have to base my work on the fact that our life is mobile. Dave gets time off every year of course, but it isn’t flexible. All our holidays, our down time, our family visits revolve around his schedule. So even though my resistance to this term on existential grounds are logical, they aren’t really entirely accurate. Continue reading “The Wife Of Someone Who Plays Hockey {not a hockey wife}”