It's go time.
The grass is cut, the lines are drawn, the helmets are ready, and the coaches are back at it.
But with the excitement of Friday Night Lights comes grief as well. And that's okay.
You see the constant excitement and positivity of "Yay---football is back!", "Best season!" and "Best time of the year!"
But as a Coach's wife who is also a mom to littles, it can also be a time of fear, isolation, and sorrow.
Don't get me wrong. I am my husband's biggest cheerleader, and I love this sport as well! You will catch me and my kids cheering on our team each week, near and far. But it takes me a minute to get there. Because for months, I've had my Coach as my partner full-time. He has helped with getting the kids ready in the morning, laundry, dishes, cleaning, reading bedtime stories, playing with the kids, and bedtime routines.
We've had date nights and just nights where we can talk, catch up, and watch a show together. I'm able to work out whenever I want, and now that abruptly stops. And now it's back to me doing all those things…alone.
I also am a teacher and love my job, so I go back to school as well. And it's a lot. I miss him. And just like the stages of grief, I, too, go through them.
I am in denial that summer flew by. I feel like we didn't do enough with our Coach. We should've done more. Then, practices begin.
The sink is full of dishes, and the kids are fighting with each other. I still haven't gotten in my run yet, and I get angry because it's hard to do life alone.
I begin the bargaining of trying to figure out how I can do it all. Then, at times, especially when school starts, I'm back working and trying to do 100 things all at once. And I can't get ahold of Coach because he's busy.
The depression can creep in because it's lonely. You are doing all the things, keeping your kids in order with their school, working your job, and trying to support your Coach 100%. It's a lot.
Then you see it, the look on your Coach's face and the kids he coaches, and you feel so much joy and pride. You accept this is our way of life. It's a great life. But it's okay to feel all the feels before you get to acceptance.
It's okay to be a little sad when the season starts again. It's okay not to be the Coach's wife shouting, "Are you ready for some football?!" at the top of your lungs.
It's okay to have these feelings because we are all in different parts of our journey. When you have littles, life is hard. When you have little ones who still depend on you fully, it's hard to do all the parenting solo.
Having these feelings does NOT mean you are not supportive of your Coach, does NOT mean you don't love the game, and does NOT mean you don't love your life.
It is just that it takes a minute to adjust back to your coaching schedule.
In our marriage vows, we used Ruth 1:16. And I've promised my Coach where he goes, I go. We are in this together. We communicate a lot, have lots of calendars and to-do lists, and remember to keep God at the center of our marriage.
Do my kids miss Dad? Of course. But the highlight each week is running out on that football field to give their Coach a big hug and play on the field.
They have come to understand the role of Coach, and as kids get older, it gets really sweet to see their pride in their dad. Know you are not alone.
Reach out to family, friends, and other coaches' wives who have walked the path you have before.
Pray, pray, pray; don't ever feel wrong for your feelings. Know you are loved and prayed for by other coaches' wives who remember being in the trenches.
Yes, it's hard at first, but the payoff is priceless. As a coach's wife who is currently in the trenches with two littles, I pray for you and me.
I get you, I see you, I am you.