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.
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, 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.
You don’t know me yet but you will! I’ll be the crazy blonde lady in the stands. The one who some days may look put together and other days … not so much.
Heading east on I-40, somewhere between Shawnee and Checotah, the man to whom I had given my heart and my word—“where you go, I will go”— reached across the front seat of our blue 1991 Pontiac Sunbird, placed his hand on my thigh, and uttered these words, “Thanks, Babe. People get divorced over stuff like this. I should have talked to you first. I love you.”
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.
Have you ever driven past a big fancy turf field with shining new lights and your husband leans over to ask, “How would you feel about moving to Georgetown?”
Or perhaps you were taken aback by a dinner conversation he struck up out of blue saying, “You know, there is this opening in Houston….”
Just when I feel like we are in a regular rhythm of life and things are settled, he surprises me with the idea of picking up and starting somewhere new. Our little football family has only worked for two schools so far in almost 15 years of coaching, but every once in a while an idea will pop into his mind and start a chain reaction of possibilities.
I realized today that when it comes to my Coach, I married a mountain climber. Thankfully, not the literal kind that spends years training and heads for Kilimanjaro or Everest, but the kind of man always looking for the next challenge, the next thing to conquer.
That competitive spirit is a requirement if you are going to make a living showing young people how to train and fight to win. I love that my Coach is always thinking of ways to strengthen both minds and bodies, equipping them to be tougher for their journeys ahead in both life and sports. But can I be honest and say … it can be a bit nerve-wracking to be married to a mountain climber.
Coaching is one of those professions where the view of the next mountain over can seem really appealing. Almost every year there is a shuffle of staff members who have decided they have conquered the mountain they are on and are ready to move on to a new challenge. Perhaps they have made the same climb for several years and the thrill is gone. Sometimes the idea can even come from well-meaning parents or former players that say, “Don’t you want to come over to the next mountain with us?” Mountain climbers just have it in their blood.
Some coaches like the challenge of a new crop of students every year to work with. For my middle school Coach, that coaching mountain can be steep and grueling because it is condensed into two years rather than four. Coaches have to build a solid foundation of technique and discipline, but every once in a while they want to take risks and see how far they can push those skills. He sees the potential in his players for them to become experts, but those time constraints mean he hands them off to a different coaching staff and only gets to watch that development happen from afar. He knows the next mountain over will be even harder for them to climb and hopes that he has equipped them with everything they need to make it to the top.
In other years, the climb can feel like he has started all over on the same mountain but now we are on the opposite side and the territory is unfamiliar. The dynamic of leadership can change just by bringing in one new member of the coaching staff, so even if the mountain is the same, it feels like a new path is being forged and the view can seem brand new.
In the best circumstances, coaches can feel challenged and energized at the start of a new school year, but there may also be years where the journey to the top feels strained, with team members that leave the rest of the crew off balance or left behind.
The challenge for me is to recognize that mountain climbing spirit and not squash it. My Coach is wired the way he is and I do love him for it, but it is quite the opposite of my nature. We have known many coaching families over the years that moved on to the next mountain far before we even considered it. Their family may have a far more adventurous spirit than ours! Every time my Coach even mentions another mountain, I immediately think of our house, my job, my kids’ schools, our network of friends…. But I can still encourage and support my husband’s need for a challenge.
Some day we may be on the same page about packing up our gear and staking out a whole new spot. For now, I will remind him what an accomplishment it is to have made it through another year with his current crew. They have risen above so many challenges and kept pushing through. They have helped each other become wiser, more disciplined, more patient, more creative, more appreciative of what it takes to shape their students into champions.
That sure seems like Everest to me.
There are no hard and fast rules on when you should move. While some coaching families insist their methods are the best, in reality, they are the best for their family unit. So, while you are processing when to move remember you guys are a team and successful teams communicate.
I hope you know in the depths of your soul that you will be okay wherever we go because we go together. We have been a part of a lot of different teams in your lifetime. But our family, this home team of five, will always be our first priority, our first love, and our home—no matter where it is.