Let Them Go

Let Them Go

We just got word that one of our assistants is being eyed for another job at a different school. This is the first for us in the head role. And honestly, I never even gave it a thought as to how I would feel about being left. (I have probably been too focused on myself and just making it through another week, another game, another season if I'm being honest.)

But I want to cry. And yes, much of it is because I love them and don't want to let them go.

But it is also because of their situation. They started out very close to family but would now be moving away just as they are starting a family of their own.

I then have to laugh at myself because my head coach's wife had the opposite reaction when we were in their exact situation 15 years ago. She told me, "This will be good for you guys. It will bring you much closer together, making you a much stronger couple."

She was 100% right. But man, was it a journey to get from there to here. And I guess I just want to protect them from how hard I know it will be.

I now can write as much as I want to about how all the difficulties made us better people, parents, friends, etc., and how I wouldn't change anything about our journey because it got us to where we are today. And where we are is solid, about as solid as you could hope in the coaching industry anyway.

But ask me when we were in the thick of it, and I would have probably laughed in your face. Well, I would have laughed and cried. I would have laughed-cried in your face.

When we were living year to year, never knowing if we would stay or leave, constantly moving and starting over, it felt like nonstop chaos, like nothing was in our control.

I have to remind myself that it felt that way not solely because of the nature of this lifestyle but because nothing is actually within our control. That's just life. But because of the added uncertainty and disarray, we were forced to learn to always lean on the only constant and consistent thing no matter where we went: God.

Now that I'm a veteran wife, I share the lessons I learned and my experiences in hopes that I can help those coming up have a smoother ride. I know that I can't take away the hardships. They are just built into this lifestyle. I am just hoping to assist in shallower and shorter valleys.

And one of my biggest lessons is that I can not and should not play God. There's no way I could know what is best for me and my family, so how could I possibly know what this couple needs?

Just like with our children and the players on the team, we have to accept that we can only offer guidance, pray for them, and hope they learn to lean on the Lord. We only get a little time with our assistants and their families, and then we have to let them go.

And I also know enough now to know that they will make it. They can survive and thrive in this lifestyle. And I do not doubt that God will use them to do great things at different schools and in other cities.

I guess this Mama Bear, well, our mascot is actually a Seawolf, so… I guess this Mama Seawolf has to work on being left and learn to let them fly/run/swim, or however they choose to go.


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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