I see you're back.
We've come to somewhat of an understanding, you and I, in the last 16 years. I tolerate you. You eventually leave for awhile.
That works for me.
But things have changed this year. My boy is out there. Playing highschool football for his daddy.
I know, I know, he's been in Jr. High ball the last two years. That was fun. But the kids weren't as big. And it wasn't nearly as serious. And the season was a lot shorter.
I've resigned myself to the fact that the Coach is yours from August through December. I don't mind sharing him. You obviously need him. All of those Jr. High and Highschool boys need him. And it's no mystery to me. He's an amazing man. I'm already looking forward to December so we can get re-acquainted.
There are parts about you that I really like. Watching my son play (assuming he doesn't get knocked clear to nowhere by some 300 pound man-boy). Sitting in the stands on a cool Fall night with the bright lights.
It has gotten easier as the kids have grown. No more sitting through the game 8 months pregnant only to stand up and realize I am paralyzed from the waist down from the hard wooden bleachers. No having to get a babysitter for the tiny ones because it's too cold and too late. We've moved on from a lot of that. We should all be able to go, now, and enjoy it more. Especially if I take a dollar for a bag of Skittles. Makes the troops happy.
I also enjoy the watching at home. Or maybe I enjoy watching the watching at home. It's fun to see my "men" all laughing and talking about the game. Even Daughter (#2) will watch some football if Sam Bradford is playing.
I'll also admit to how much I love watching the troops in the front yard throwing the football around and chasing after it and giving each other a hard time. The Coach passing to Son (#4) who (if I could guess) may end up being our best athlete, yet. After all he's been tackling everyone within reach since he turned one. The cooler breezes, the changing leaves. It's all part of you and I like it.
Maybe my favorite part about you is the memories. My first observations of the Coach were centered around you, when he was on the sidelines coaching his youngest brother (later our best man). Sitting with the Coach's sister and sister-in-law and hearing about all of the kids and families in what would become a very special place to me - our school. Hearing how great he was coaching the boys. How much they respected him. Watching him under the bright lights of a Friday night game (be still my heart!).
Later on that same season, I have memories of going to a game with a ring on my finger. Finally belonging to him in some sense but still yards away from him - just watching.
Then the very next year - as newlyweds - I spent the season expecting son (#1). Watching games together on Sunday afternoons and the Coach being very patient with my never ending questions about the game. I'm sure I thought, at the time, that if it was a boy (we didn't know until he came) he'd be out there playing someday beside his coach/daddy.
And now he is.
My point is this. I've given you a lot. My husband. My time. My peace (ever try taking 8 kids 11 and under to a 3 hour football game that doesn't start until after their bedtime? And staying home isn't much easier.). My Friday nights. My Monday nights. Even my weekends since the Coach is gone watching film on Saturdays and watching film and drawing up plays at home on Saturday and Sunday, too.
Because of this my expectations are high. I want to get something back. I want my son to learn to work hard, play hard, hit hard and never complain. I want him to learn to follow instructions, sense the opposing team's position, and be happy even if he doesn't get to play. And I really really want him to stay healthy and not spend the season injured.
I know you can't help me with any of this. Since you are just a football season, after all.
But I thought, with our history, it was only fair to let you know.