It's Impossible To Avoid Scars

It's Impossible To Avoid Scars

"Scars give you character. They prove you lived."

This was a quote from a friend after my son busted his eyebrow wide open during what was supposed to be a fun and friendly school activity night.

The aftermath of his injury was chaotic. I had to figure out what to do about my two younger daughters before deciding if we should go to Urgent Care or brave the dreaded Emergency Department at our local hospital to get him the necessary stitches.

And where was coach? He was out of town for an away game, of course!

The whole scenario was an ironic reversal of what I had always worried about from the moment my son was born.

Not the stressful part of dealing with an injury, that was exactly what you'd expect. I mean that my mentality about community has changed so much since then.

In my defense, we had just gone through a series of moves where, just as I got my feet back on the ground, we were leaving again.

We had moved to another new school when I was six months pregnant with my son, and I was tired of starting over. I honestly didn't see the point.

If our luck held up, we'd be leaving soon enough. I was sick of dealing with the scars that came from building relationships and making a home and then being ripped away and leaving everything and everyone behind.

My heart had become hard. The scar tissue had crowded out any softness that used to exist. I didn't even give myself the opportunity to push people away. I built a wall to keep anyone from getting too close.

Before I knew it, I had two kids under two. And I was terrified to leave the house if my coach was away for a game or recruiting. Aside from a couple other coaches' wives with babies too, I had refused to build a community. So, I knew there was no one I could call within a reasonable distance in case of emergency or for needed assistance.

For the first few years of being a mother, I was basically homebound when coach was gone (which, as we all know, was more often than not.)

It didn't take me long before I realized that was no way to live. Afraid and alone doesn't make for any kind of life for an adult, but especially not for the new lives I was entrusted to shape.

So, I changed my ways. I vowed to build such a deep and ingrained community that when we left, it would leave intense scars that could be seen by all and would be felt for years to come.

We moved from that school five years ago, and I'm still healing the scars from leaving friends who became family and a town that revived my soul.

But I am a much better person, mother, coach's wife, friend, etc., because I truly lived while we were there. The people, the places, and the experiences developed my character better than if I had protected myself from the potential wounds of moving.

So, at our current school, I didn't waste time diving into the community, and neither did my kids.

And it showed. When my worst nightmare finally occurred, it was beautifully overwhelming to manage the texts, the gifts and the offers of help flooding in the moment people heard we were in distress.

If or when we are forced to move again, we will never regret a second of living our lives to the fullest in this community. The pain will be absolutely worth it.

So, dive into your community as soon as you can.

And even though, metaphorically, you might bust open your eyebrow, needing 11 stitches that will leave a visible scar, it means you're living.

You'll have stories that changed you.
You'll have people that encourage you, even if it's from afar.
You'll have places that define a season of your life.

Spoiler alert: it's actually impossible to avoid scars. So it's better to get them from a well-lived life than from building a brick wall around your heart.

Jess Gilardi is a lacrosse coach’s wife living on the East Coast. They have three young kids and have been living this life since 2004. She was a mental health therapist in the school system before becoming the full time chaos coordinator for the family (a.k.a. stay-at-home mom). Jess started writing, hoping that by sharing her stories and lessons learned, she might help others learn “the easy way.”
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