It's the beginning of December and we are home. Like, for real home. Not a quick Christmas visit. But a whole new world for us Smittys. This hockey season may have ended up with us being home regardless because of the lock-out. For us, we are still in the process of settling in to, "life after hockey". The first week of October was when it first really hit me. I was a bit out of sorts. Usually by that week I am gone for the winter. I never expected to feel it because I am so happy to be home, but I felt a bit out of place, like I shouldn't be here.

It's no secret that I have been not so patiently waiting for our hockey journey to end. Don't get me wrong- I loved every minute of it and am so glad that I got to experience it the past 10 years. But 10 years was a bit too long for this girl. And after year 7 I was ready to call it quits. But I wanted the husband to make that decision himself. No regrets. A pretty bad concussion last season in NY sealed the deal.

And so we started out life at HOME this past spring. To be honest, all summer it didn't feel any different- we are home every summer anyways. And without (fully) being able to get in to our new house and make it ours, the summer came and went as it always did. I knew the fall would be different. And so far going into the winter it has been.

But for all of you who know me and know I have been counting down the days to retirement, I do want to let you in on a little secret. As much as I am LOVING being home (like, alot.) I do miss some aspects of the hockey life.

I miss the girls. I miss spending crazy amounts of time with people. In real life you may see your friends once or twice a week (some weeks not at all). In hockey world there are days upon days you spend with the girls. I think back to our time living in Texas and how I literally saw my friend Syd every day. Unless one of us flew home for a week or two, we were together. In Pennsylvania not only did I live with another hockey wife, but another friend and I rarely went 2 days without getting together. I think of all the amazing girls I adore that I won't see again. And if I do it will be every couple years. How rude of life to give you these people only to have them taken away from you! Ontario, Chicago, NY, New Jersey, Vancouver, San Diego... I could go on. Places that are not just a quick trip over.

The other thing that I miss that I honestly didn't even think of, is the amount of time I'd miss spending with my husband and the pups. I admit to have fully taken for granted the long days we had. Besides when he was on a road trip, we spent all day together. I could take Nahla for 3 long walks every day. I cuddled up on the couch with the little one for hours. The husband and I went out for dinner weekly, ran errands together, watched our shows together every night. Life back home is busier than I expected. Both working full time, other activities we're involved in, add in handfuls of friends and family that you share your time with, and you've got some pretty busy days. The days of trashy american television marathons are over. The many nights out every week enjoying drinks with friends or being out watching football each week have come to an end. Reality as we know it has settled in.

In the end I've learned 2 things thus far in this transition phase.

One is that I've surprised myself with these feelings of actually missing some parts of the hockey lifestyle. I guess that just means it really was such a special time in our lives.

And the other is that I can honestly now say that no matter where we were one thing always remained the same - Home was always where ever my family was. The husband, the fur children. And my shoes. And that's something pretty neat to have confidence in.