Never Say Never

Never Say Never

Never was one of my most frequently used words regarding being a coach’s wife. I had a lot of preconceived notions about what I was capable of, what I could handle, and, quite honestly, what would be worth my effort.

But the truth is that we will only know our limits for any of these once we are in the middle of them.

I could never live this life:
For the better part of my first decade in this lifestyle, I spent so much energy watching and worrying about what other wives were going through. I saw the good, the bad, and the difficult, and I was so sure that I could never survive this lifestyle.

  • Never knowing when or where we would go.
  • Never being in complete control of our future.
  • Never being able to feel fully settled at the risk of having my heart broken (again). 

The worrier and obsessive planner in me couldn’t see a world where I could be adaptable or open-minded.

But I have been able to wait for months at a time while people at other schools make their decisions on who to hire and then for that to trickle down to us. I have been able to see the pros and cons of a new school objectively and to decide whether we should stay or go without letting my love for the path of least resistance cloud my evaluations. I have been able to get out and into the community, knowing that it could never be my forever home, and build meaningful and lasting relationships (that have survived the difficulties of distance).

I could never bring up children like this:
I spent seven years in this lifestyle before starting a family. I was surrounded by many wives who were capable and amazing mothers. I was so sure that I wouldn’t be able to handle the kids’ reactions to the difficult aspects of this life.

  • Never have the right answers as to why daddy doesn’t have a regular job.
  • Never be able to comfort the disappointment when they realize that daddy will have to miss their activities (again).
  • Never be able to do enough to distract or make up for the long days and seemingly never-ending seasons. 

The greedy side of me couldn’t see a world where a small amount of quality time could ever trump a normal amount of quantity time.

But I have explained (many, many times) just how lucky they are to have a daddy with a job that allows them to be active participants and actually encourages them to join in some areas. I have learned the words and the mannerisms that placate the sad questions and concerns (until the subsequent incident, at least). And I have found ways to make them never want the season to end.

I could never live there:
Knowing we had to go wherever the job was, I didn’t put many stipulations around where I’d be willing to go. But, I did have two specific nevers (one was a school and one was an area). Two of the three places we interviewed for head coaching positions were those 'nevers.'

  • Never be able to fit in there.
  • Never be able to walk into that stadium without having a range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between.
  • Never be happy in that town, at that school. 

My introverted side couldn't fathom a world where I would have to start over again and again and again and again...

But I have adjusted to the place I honestly dreaded. We are at one of those 'nevers' now. And we’ve managed to fit in so well that even our best of friends forget that we aren’t “natives.” And more than that, I have found purpose and happiness beyond my wildest imagination. 

Be careful what you say because I have learned that life, especially in the coaching industry, will call you out on your 'nevers.' I have dealt with mine head-on and realized I could do so much more than I ever imagined.

Don’t underestimate yourself. If I can do it, you can find a way through your ‘never’ too.


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.”
Back to blog