Chris and I will have our eighth anniversary this fall and in all that time (plus our dating and engagement) he’s been a coach. There hasn’t been one year he’s taken off since he started coaching our college club lacrosse team our junior year so that’s what? Eleven years? I suck at math but I think that’s right. Anyway, so for a LONG time I’ve been a coach’s girlfriend/fiance/wife.

Being a coach’s wife doesn’t mean anything to you unless, well, you’re a coach’s wife. Similar, I’m guessing, to being a military wife. It’s something you can’t understand unless you’re living it.

So for eight years I’ve lost my husband to a team multiple times a year (he’s always coached two or three seasons). And for all of those years I watched his teams with a veil over my eyes. A veil of three tiny babies at home with an absent/distracted/over-committed/exhausted husband. I’ve always gone to as many games as I could either taking the kids with me or hiring a sitter. And I have ALWAYS adored his teams because he mostly coaches girls and so I’ve gotten to know many of them. Most babysit here at some point too. I love their parents and watching the games are always exciting. (Meaning, what I’m about to say has NOTHING to do with the sports/players/parents/etc. and all to do with ME.)

BUT. While I’m passionately cheering at the games it’s always been really hard for me to be at home, alone with the kids, all the other times. Doing dinner/baths/bed every night for weeks and months on end is exhausting. And after a while it makes me a crabby+complaining wife and mother. I’m not always a good person during his coaching seasons. I get frustrated, pick fights, go to bed angry, etc. Because for SO many years we had SO many little kids (the WORST year was after Gray was born and the kids were infant, 1 and 3 years old and Chris coached all three seasons. Rough does not describe it!) and Chris was just gone ALL THE DAMN TIME. After a while I really started to resent his coaching. He was gone all the time and it’s not like he was making millions of dollars doing it either.

Do you hear what I’m saying? I was really starting to HATE what coaching did to me and our family.

But then this year rolled around. And the kids were older+more independent (read: potty trained, sleeping through the night, getting dressed alone, etc.). And we lived in our own house. And we gained incredibly supportive neighbors. And the kids were older. And it was easier to go to games. And dinner/SHOWERS/bed wasn’t super hard anymore (no diapers, jammies on by themselves, showering alone, etc.). And my best friend’s kids were bigger too (they’re the same age as mine almost) so we could actually hold conversations on the sidelines (her husband, Kevin, coaches with Chris in the spring). And LO AND BEHOLD I started really enjoying soccer!

It’s like it kind of crept up on me too. Because it’s not like life has been perfect and I still can get tired of doing so much on my own and Chris and I still had a few big arguments (mostly about me doing so much on my own! HA!) BUT as the season wore on I realized just how much I was loving it all. For the first time in a LONG time I loved watching him on the sidelines doing what he loves. His team was AMAZINGLY talented and I found myself really watching the girls play. I got to know some of the parents better and they supported our family this season in ways we can never repay. And as the team did better and better it felt like I was a part of it all instead of just the grumpy house wife waiting at home. I was excited to hear about the games I couldn’t go to when he got home! I didn’t mind as much when he was on the phone at night with his other coaches discussing practice or reliving games. I started to understand soccer better too because I was actually watching the games.

I needed this year so desperately. I needed to see all the GOOD that Chris coaching does for our family. I needed to see that having my kids grow up on a soccer field is a really amazing thing. I needed that veil to lift so I could see just how freaking talented Chris truly is at what he does. He is hands down one of the best coaches I’ve ever seen. And I’m not just saying that because I love him. I’m saying it because his girls WANT to work hard for him! And they work SO hard. His assistant coaches and his team and their parents… well… you just don’t get a better group of people.

That’s why, tonight’s loss in the second round of districts was so heart wrenching. Webster DESERVED that win! They played harder than the other team and played with more heart. But even with this devastating loss, at least for me, this was the best season ever. It showed me that Chris is exactly where God has called him to be, doing exactly what He designed him to do. I feel so lucky that my husband gets to have a job that he’s so passionate about! Not everyone is so lucky!

Kevin, Chris, Dan (ignore the weird face he’s making… they let me take ONE photo and Dan was talking I think!) and Todd (who left early this game). Four guys who work harder than anyone I know!

Five of the best cheerleaders around! Our kids and the MacBryde (Kevin and Angie) girls! Gray was sick for this game so he’s missing from the photo.

Tonight Angie and I got sitters so we could have a date and enjoy the game together (along with SO MANY of our friends and family who came out to support the team!)… it’s SO great having a friend in the trenches with me!

So for the first time ever I can’t wait to see what the Webster Groves Girls Soccer Team can do next season! There is NO part of me tonight glad that soccer is over… I so wish they could have advanced. My veil has officially been lifted and from here on out I expect it just gets easier! I’m so proud of the team this year and SO SO proud of my awesome husband. He worked harder this season than I’ve ever seen him work.

And I guess to wrap up this LONG post… I just want to let ALL the parents of very little kids know that IT GETS EASIER. A LOT easier. Oh it gets busier and maybe more emotional (dealing with bigger issues like bullies, friendships, etc.) BUT it’s just easier. Trust me!