I had no idea that when Danny and I got married last summer we were also secretly initiated into the “you are now eligible to receive family Christmas cards” club. Go figure. One after the other we received the most beautiful Christmas cards this year from both friends and family alike, some of whom we hadn’t spoken to in years.
Some cards were from our happily childless couple friends, many of whom are newlyweds. And some had family photos on the front of them, complete with newborn babies and family dogs. To our surprise many of the cards also included a detailed paragraph outlining what the family had been up to since the previous Christmas. It was pretty interesting. After reading them, Danny and I felt honored to be surrounded by so many future soccer hall-of-famers, pint-sized Picassos and of course, plain and simple, little genius children.
We had so much fun flipping through the Christmas cards and playing catch-up with good friends that we’d somehow lost touch with. It was as if the little paragraphs in them adequately replaced the need for long-lost-friend dinner dates. You know, the ones you schedule and rescheduled about a hundred times over the course of a year because when they get close you get nervous that you’ll have nothing to talk about. They’re the same ones that generally require a glass of wine to loosen you up a bit before you meet for dinner. We couldn’t help but conclude that the convenience of the Christmas card was truly brilliant, and we were enjoying every bit of our speed dinner-dating until we found ourselves cringing through some of the paragraphs. As we flipped through the pile of cards that we’d gotten from the friends that we’d made through Danny’s NFL career, there was one staggering constant that seemed to hit home like a ton of bricks. Change.
Change, sudden and constant change at that, was the common denominator in every single Christmas card that we’d gotten from Danny’s old teammates, coaches and their families. And it was, quite frankly, a reality that we knew all too well with our 4 teams in 4 seasons history. Card after card, in the upbeat and optimistic foreign language of NFL-speak, we read about our dear friends being traded, being released, moving, getting injured, exploring alternate professions, being signed, moving, getting injured again, moving again, and getting released again. New states, new cities, new homes, new climates, new schools, new friends, new co-workers, new jobs. And although they weren’t written on the page in legible ink we undoubtedly read about the hellos, goodbyes, see you laters, good riddances, and how could yous that went along with all of it. It was exhausting.
So as the first real entry of my blog, I’ve decided write my version of what our Fells Christmas card would look like today. A snapshot of our “right now” if you will. Because tomorrow could be another story.
“Happy 2010 Everyone! This last year has gone by like a whirlwind but we’re still chugging along! We got engaged last April and married in June, and by now you know that no, I wasn’t pregnant, we just didn’t need a long engagement. Seven years was a long enough time for us to figure out that we wanted to spend our lives together. And after being in four weddings over the course of 9 months I was somewhat wedding-ed out. So we decided to just have a couple of intimate celebrations with family and call it a day. Married life has been pretty great. Although Danny swears that not a single thing has changed other than the piece of paper that now bonds us, I secretly think that little paper makes him love me just a tiny bit more than before. I’m still not used to calling him my husband and I think I’ll forever turn around and look for his mom whenever someone calls me Mrs. Fells.
Three long years after getting my masters degree in Writing I’m finally publishing my debut novel, “Drowning in the Mainstream: Confessions of a Sister.” I often describe it to friends as a girly, young adult novel about sisterhood and sorority-stuff and then follow-up with the phrases “No, you’re not in it. A novel is fiction,” and “Yes, I agree, it would be awesome to be on Oprah one day.” I’ve been lucky enough to have a career that I can do anywhere because Danny’s has pretty much taken us all over the U.S. He’s currently a tight end for the St. Louis Rams and he had somewhat of a breakout year in 2009, scoring one-third of the team’s touchdowns and making it onto the pro bowl ballot as a second-stringer. A pretty hard feat on a 1-16 team. But don’t you worry, Superbowl 2011 here we come! (An example the optomistic NFL-speak I wrote about above)
We’ll be heading back to St. Louis once Off Season Training starts up in March and I’m not excited to leave California again but I do terribly miss the girlfriends that I made in St. Louis this last year. My life as an NFL wife is both everything that most people think it is and nothing like anyone could ever imagine it to be. It’s amazing and terrible all at the same time if I’m being completely honest. While most people spend their Sundays relaxing and bracing themselves for a busy work week, I spend most of mine taking deep, short breaths, the kind that vibrate in the back of your throat when you’re nervous, and praying for the physical safety of the man that I love. Praying for the physical safety of the man that I love. It’s like that MTV phrase that everyone used to use as their IM status update in college, ‘You think you know, but you have no idea.’ Merry Christmas!”