I have always found it frustrating to not get to where I want to be, with new friends, with the new house, in the new community, immediately. I also fall victim to always comparing my brand new beginning to the well developed ending that just occurred. I’ve learned that I need to be patient and realistic. It takes time to get where I would like to be, usually years.
Yes, we are moving Lord, but You are already there, just as You are here. It is such a comfort that we cannot escape the cover of Your love, no matter how far we move.
You'll realize that to do it the right way, to be the best possible coach's wife (and person), the one that the community and school deserve, it's going to cost you a piece of your heart.
I’m writing this as a gentle reminder that all of us have been there. We’ve all been the New Wife -- the one no one knows. And sadly, some of us have even been the New Wife that no one ever knows… the one that no one ever reaches out to before the transient nature of the football life has its way with us, and we move on to our next location and our next potential football family.
But there is a difference between being familiar with a community and feeling at home isn’t there? Familiarity allows us a certain level of safety, but when we are at home we can rest.
It may be bittersweet, but sometimes change opens up a whole new happiness for you that you weren’t anticipating.
That’s the beautiful thing about dreams and plans.
God knows our hearts, and he knows what is best for us. He knows that while some of us thrive in structure, our lists can also create false permission to establish boundaries and limit ourselves where more significant opportunities are possible.
I promised myself I’d never let that happen again, that even if I knew I’d only be somewhere for a short time, I would trust that God had planted me there “for such a time as this” and jump in with both feet and a whole heart to the new life he had for me, in that exact place, for that exact moment.
We’ve only moved a few times in our twenty years of coaching, but those moves have been what I define as major moves. We moved from the suburbs north of Chicago, IL, to a southern IL farming community that had two stoplights and one grocery store. Our next move took us fourteen hours east to the Appalachian mountains. From there, we moved to Central IL. We live three blocks from the University of Illinois.
That’s right, friends. After sixteen long years, we’re back in an area with Costco, Aldi, Panera, Target, and an actual mall just around the corner!!! The first day we woke up in our new home in Central IL, I realized we didn’t have anything for breakfast, so I ran to the local Meijer. I spent a good five minutes crying in the produce department before the stock boy asked me if I was okay.
“Me? Oh, I’m fine. I’m just happy and completely overwhelmed.”
It’s HarD to be “the New Family” in town Again
When trying to decide whether we should move, we’ve always tried to obey God’s leading. Each job has different pros and cons, but we learned very early in our marriage that the most important part of any community is the people. The rest is simply icing on the cake but that icing is often difficult to spread around evenly.
When You Move You Need to Start Over
As the new family we start over with a new school to cheer for and a new house to turn into a home. But the changes extend well beyond that. We have to find new doctors, stores, gas stations, schools, churches, clubs, affinity groups, and anything else you need to make your new community work for your entire family.
Starting Over Includes Learning New Traditions
One of our favorite things about living in very different parts of the country is how many community traditions our kids have learned through the years. We’ve eagerly participated in Apple Days, Dairy Days, and Fourth of July parades. We’ve watched the lemon drop at midnight on December 31st. We’ve hunted down free lemonade on Lemonade days and attended the Lemonade Festival.
Our kids have hiked the Southern IL Garden of the Gods and the Southwest Virginia Cascade Falls. They’ve tasted shrimp and grits, fried okra, and compared St. Louis style pizza to Chicago style pizza. They’ve explored museums and zoos all over the country from Kansas City to Minneapolis to North Carolina.
It’s been wonderful, and exhausting. When you’re always learning new traditions it’s difficult to establish reliable family traditions. Sometimes you just need a community to feel like home.
You Can Help Wives Feel Like a Local
You know that feeling you get when you’re driving around your new community without Google Maps for the first time? You feel like a local. You know where things are located! You that feeling you get when you just pull into the gas station without second-guessing if you picked the “right” one?
Did you miss park district sign-ups this year? Not on our watch! We’ve got you covered because we’re creating the Ultimate Coaches’ Wives Resource for Families who Move into a Community.
But we cannot do this without YOU!!!
We’VE Created A Resource Map
We’ve developed a map that we will build out by regions within states. We’re going to feature the most common things you need to know about each area.
- Kids Activities
- What are the best regional hospitals, schools, stores, and coaches’ wives restaurant recommendations
- Which coaches’ wives are in our Market Place by region
- Something important and unique to know about this region
I can hear my voice calling out to my son playing in the summer heat in the backyard way past his bedtime.
I can feel the rush of excitement when my stepson and stepdaughter run up the brick steps, fling open the front door at Thanksgiving Break, and call out to us, “we’re home!”
And I know because my family will feel at home here, that I will be just fine starting over too.
You, and me, and thousands of coaches’ wives all over this country are in this together. Knowing we are done where we are, possibly unsure of where we are headed, but all collectively grieving, trying not to worry, and praying.
Just like our brother Jonah, we go places we're not supposed to go because we're human and want to do our own thing. Discernment and wisdom are of God, and when we feel anxious about a move, it can be fear of the unknown OR it can be divine insight.
The most freeing thing I’ve learned is that it’s possible for a person to hold complete sadness and immense joy at the same time.
But the truth is, no one bad play, no one unexpected loss, not even one loud heckler in the stands will be able to close a door that is Divinely yours. Along that same line, no clawing, scratching, or forcing will open one that isn’t meant for you.
Now, I laugh at the mention of an “off-season,” I add two hours on when coach says he will be home in fifteen, and I relish the challenge of attempting anything I’ve never tried before.
We often hesitate to go too deep because we are very aware of the pain that is caused from ripping out an ingrained root system to move. And those roots are always a little damaged, even once they are integrated into their new area.
I pride myself in the fact that I can take care of everything, but sometimes it’s nice to know you don’t have to do it all; and it’s a great way to make memories with your friends and loved ones before you leave town.
Thank you for your support. In the midst of a lot of unknowns, you were there! You offered great advice and answered every question. Trust me, I had a lot of them. Your unwavering support to welcome and assist my family in this new time was a blessing.
For a Football Coach, this is his greatest fear. And today it came true on the anniversary of the biggest win of our lives. Today I join those who are hurting, confused, and lost.
I am trying to acknowledge the daily victories, like my child made his first friend or I found a dentist that doesn’t have a 6 month wait. With each small victory, it gets a little easier.