What I Thought I Wanted

My husband started sending me the football games for next season on our calendar today. I nearly cried. Okay, shush, I did. Whatever. I was elated. Now that we’re embroiled in this new routine, I was overjoyed with happiness about even considering that “normal” is already on my calendar.

He’s teaching from the front room right now, I can hear trumpets playing merrily, just like every day he’s doing his band lessons. I can see all the little boxes of videos filling up his computer screen and my heart fills up at the same time. Even in the times like this, it’s good to still see that we are making the most of what we’ve got.

I won’t forget when my husband told me I could come “wave” to his class on his virtual meeting. It’s so hard to see everyone on a screen and not truly be amongst them. That sense of spirit when everyone’s in the zone, in the tunnel, ready to play their hearts out…mere steps from that turf. That’s just something that can’t be replicated in photos, it’s a gift that we are given by this community. I hope I never forget what breathing that air feels like.

But football season will be different this year. Do not get me wrong, I will and still love the first step onto the turf, the first snap of a snare drum, the first playing of the fight song. I love the football team bursting through the tunnel to the field and the roar of the crowd as it takes off. How can you not get swept up at the opening of Friday Night Lights?

But this year, there’s such a bigger, bolder appreciation that I’m already feeling. I found myself cringing the other day when a movie had a group of people shaking hands and “not social distancing” – proving already how much this virus has crept into our day to day routine. Can you imagine getting to share some popcorn with fellow sideline wives? Not having to FaceTime someone for a chat? Having an actual happy hour? (Okay, I got a little crazy on that last one, we don’t get time for happy hour…we’re sideline wives!!)

Every memory this coming season will be felt with a little more heft, some greater wisdom of how beautiful our human connection to these traditions are. Impacts that we make on students and the impressions they leave on thus are all the sweeter. As we know that we did not usher out the Class of 2020 with the (literal) pomp and circumstance that we wanted to, I know that the Class of 2021 will know now what they could have missed. I know now how deep this life effects our family, and we are all the better for this knowledge, knowing how deeply committed we are to it. It would have been easier if we could kick back and easily “relax” but here I am, worried about all of our students, wishing them and their families safe and happy returns to normal from all of this.

Admittedly, I love this life, and most of the time, I know how blessed we are. But it’s in those moments, where the house is a mess, dinner hasn’t been discovered, and I’m stressed and trying to “make it all happen” that I forget this blessing. Right now, I would trade my bout of spring cleaning, getting projects done, just to have closed this year out correctly. What a change of heart that is. Because sitting here now, having those things I wished for, what have I got to show for it? A dusted kitchen? A cleaner attic? Meh. I would have rather I collected the memories.

So, I will not forget this time. I will remember that a finished to-do list does not mean a happier life. I will not forget that a 24/7 husband means a happier marriage – we are still happy, but after this, we will be stronger. This year will mark the year that not only did we take the road less traveled, like always, but next year will be the year we knew we didn’t want to be anywhere else.

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