Thursday, July 16, 2015

When It’s Time to Walk Away… Part 3 – The Gym Mom

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?


  1. Aw. This is really a tough question and a tough thing to be thinking about. I have no answers but I have no doubt you will figure it out. You are a strong and amazing woman who has an identity beyond these roles and you will simply be able to expand in other areas of your life. Big life questions, though. Wish I had big life answers for you. :-)

    1. I always have plenty to do, I'm sure my schedule will re-fill quickly, but it's kind of sobering to think about!

  2. 2 years ago R decided to quit playing baseball! Incredible talent (9 home runs in a season, 2 out of park), but hated it! That was soooo hard on me. I loved watching him play, I loved being at the ball field, and being a "ball mom", but...guess what? He's a different age now and the sports change and their intensity changes and our schedules stay just as full. I think of it kind of like transitioning from high school to college to married life, etc...friendships change, we change, the people we surround ourselves with change, but...we have to move, transition, and say goodbye for more great things to come into our lives! Just because something ends, doesn't mean something great won't's just different! Hugs!

  3. For me it was realizing that life does go on and there IS another adventure around another corner.

  4. Leslie, I just got caught up reading your whole series and really enjoyed how you got to the heart of so many feelings. I have yet to get to the point of kids getting involved with things, but I do know with our oldest starting preschool this year that life is always transitioning when you have kids at home. And through the transition you always have to remember what your goals and priorities are. The goal you talked about in each part of your series was that your family was having fun. The fun might change locations, sports, and team families, but I know you'll always find opportunities for your family to have fun!