As I continued to write about walking away, I realized that my position as a gym mom, by nature, puts me in a very vulnerable spot. Whether it’s gym mom or football wife, my fate and relationships rest in someone else’s hands. And that’s unsettling. No, I don’t expect my kids’ activities to last forever, and I assume husband won’t still be playing in 3-4 different leagues per year for the next 20 years (although he often surprises me). I know all of it will end at some point. But the idea that I don’t get to pick when it ends? That someone else will choose when I walk away from people that I love? It’s hard to accept.
It’s hard enough to not get to go to the games and competitions and watch your kids anymore, but to leave behind the people that shared my joy and my heartbreak? The ones who understood the light grocery month because it’s that time of year to buy new uniforms and warm-ups? The ones who cringe with you when your 34-year-old husband rolls an ankle or takes a particularly hard hit? How do you say goodbye to those friends?
I will support my family - kids and husband - in any decision they make. It’s not my body being put through the physical impact, and of course most of these activities are too expensive to continue doing if it’s not fun anymore. And I often wonder what I would do with all the extra time. Clean my house maybe? Learn a language? And don’t get me started on the miles I put on my car, or the permanent bleacher imprint on my butt, or the early mornings and late nights.
In the last 10 years I’ve watched kids grow up, celebrated weddings, said goodbye to loved ones. I’ve watched families grow, seen champions crowned, and felt the heartbreak of defeat. But at some point I’ll see my last run at Ada Hayden. I won’t spend camp week sitting by the pool with friends. I won’t sit in a diner at 10pm with a table full of linemen. Coming to the realization that I don’t know when it will all go away was eye opening. Literally. I was up writing at 4am. But coming to the realization that I don’t get a say in when it will all go away? Terrifying. Sure, Facebook helps. You see the pictures and catch the basic highlights. But watching SportsCenter isn’t the same as being on the sidelines, and clicking “like” isn’t the same as the hug given or the laugh shared.
So tell me friends, parents who have gone before me, how do you say goodbye when it’s time to walk away?