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A Rugby Wife: keeping kids busy while encouraging a husband’s hobbies

“In rugby, players aren’t allowed to throw the ball forward, so they always toss it to someone slightly behind them…”

I smile as I listen and cast a sideways glance towards the voice. It’s an older man explaining rugby to a younger woman, perhaps his granddaughter. It reminds me of when I watched my first rugby game, and a fellow who’d lent me his umbrella talked about rucks and scrums and other things I was clueless about. I alternated between watching the ball and watching my husband (then “just” a friend from university) and at the end of the game had to ask him who’d won.

I bend over Lily, tucking her blanket closer around her, and glance at Sunshine, who’s crawling across the bleachers under the legs of a fellow rugby wife sitting next to us. Out on the field, I try to find my husband (number 25 jersey) until Lily wails under her blanket. I shift her to my shoulder, adjusting my shirt and hoping everyone is focused on the game and not paying attention to a rugby wife trying to nurse her three-week old on the sidelines.

Potty,” Sunshine says, tugging at my jacket. I sigh, looking at Lily and the diaper bag and the long walk across the lawn, up the stairs, and through the clubhouse.

“You really have to go?” I ask her, but of course, she insists. I’m fairly certain that as soon as we get in there, she won’t do anything. But I pack Lily into her carseat, heave it up, and decide that my diaper bag (and wallet) will be safe on the bleachers.

We weave through the crowd in the clubhouse, find the washrooms, and both use them. Back outside, Lily stays sleeping in her carseat and I’m able to focus on the game. It’s my hubby’s first game in about fifteen months; there was no team up north, so he hasn’t played since we left the city.  I watch as a couple scrums wheel 90 degrees, but I can’t tell if he’s wheeling them or the other prop is. Someday, when the girls are old enough, we’ll encourage our kids to play sports too.

Sunshine is back beside me, trying to rock Lily. She wants a juice. Then she doesn’t want it. She climbs up the bleachers, back down again, under the other rugby wife’s legs. When Lily begins to wail, Sunshine seizes the blanket I’d tucked over the carseat. I try nursing Lily again, with the wind blowing the nursing cover around and Sunshine dragging the blanket around the bleachers. She sees my husband and yells, “Daddy! Daddy!” Then she wants to go potty again. I tell her no.

By the time the game is done, I’m exhausted. I pack the girls up and head to our Jeep, hoping my husband will know where to find us. In the warmth of the vehicle, I unbundle Lily and myself and nurse her without worrying about covering up. Sunshine plays with the steering wheel and radio. Lily falls asleep and I crack open my book, breathing a sigh of relief at the chance to relax.

When my husband appears, he takes Sunshine back to watch the last half of the game with him. He worries about rugby taking him away from the family, but I know it’s important to support his hobby. We each have our interests, aside from the family we’re building, and those are part of who we are. Rugby lets him meet other guys, get some exercise, and have fun, and it’s worth the sacrifice of sitting on the edge of the field for a few hours so he can do that. After all, he gives me time to pursue my hobby of writing and blogging.

His next game is Saturday. I’m trying to figure out a game plan for watching rugby with a baby and a toddler. Any suggestions for this rugby wife?

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