Family, Journal, Marriage

Making His Absence During the Holidays Less Hard

I love fall. Everything about it. The cooler weather, leaves changing colors, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and what’s the sport that consumes my family? Oh yes, FOOTBALL!

Some of my favorite holidays are in the fall too. My birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving – pause for a moment of a mental “smell” of Thanksgiving Day feast…ah, heavenly – fall break and let’s not forget the build-up to Christmas.

Of course, when you’re a coach’s wife you get the luxury of spending most of these holidays alone. It’s not out of spite of course, it’s just your luck of the draw.

You might have to plan your trick-or-treating around the practice schedule before eventually giving up and deciding to take your kids alone. You might have to spend your birthday eating Ramen noodles because by the time your husband gets home (likely without a card) it’ll be too late to go out to eat; then again, if you’re really lucky, you’ll spend your birthday at the football field. You might have to bump back your Thanksgiving dinner plans to later in the day because Coach will be at playoff practice until Lord only knows when. And when that beloved Fall Break comes along … sure, you can take a vacation, but not with him.

I won’t lie to you, the first few years of this are hard. You will be resentful that your husband misses your little one’s first Halloween. You’ll be upset by your family members’ snide comment about him being late to Thanksgiving dinner (or missing it all together). And if you’re one of the really lucky wives with a fall birthday, oh honey, you will definitely feel like he loves the sport more than you when he forgets your birthday for the first time.

But it’ll get easier. You’ll learn to accept it. You will know deep down that he would give anything to be with you.

While he’s running plays at practice, he’s wishing he was holding your little monkey’s hand saying “TRICK-OR-TREAT!”

He may get lost daydreaming about the delicious, warm food he’s missing out on come Thanksgiving morning.

And when it’s raining during the fall break, he’ll wish he was at the beach with you instead of freezing at practice.

What I’ve come to realize is every coach feels that way; they just don’t articulate it.

So, before you get upset, take a moment to realize the obvious. Yes, it’ll be overwhelming at first doing all the holiday prep by yourself. Yes, you’ll feel sad that he’s missing a few “firsts”, and yes, you’ll be mad that you feel like the low man on the totem pole. But you can help the situation. You can make it easier on yourself and your coach.

First, always keep in mind it’s NOT a choice. He’s not missing it because he wants to. It’s his job. He only has these few weeks in the fall to make his impact. The entire year of his career revolves around these ten weeks.

Second, keep him involved. Wait to go Halloween costume shopping when he can go with you. Find a trunk-or-treat hosted by a church or community program that is offering trick-or-treating on an alternate day. Find a pumpkin patch and go on a off day! TAKE PICTURES! Make him feel like he didn’t miss a thing!

Third, don’t get bogged down by friends or family who just don’t get it. Don’t be afraid to say no. Set your boundaries and don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad.

Lastly, save him a plate or a stash of secret candy. Save a few minutes at the end of the day to have YOUR moment with your coach.

Yes, the holidays are special, but so is a win on Friday nights.