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.
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.
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.
We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the done. We cannot sacrifice our sanity by trying to run plays that just don’t work with our current personnel, life stage or needs. So don’t try. Sometimes you just have to wad those things up, toss them away and draw up something new.
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.
Once I heard a parent fussing that “these coaches only work with these boys for 3-4 months out of the year…” I laughed out loud at the time. But the other day, it got me thinking. Every career, every position, every role in this life has its seasons.
I’m a teacher. August and September are super busy. Holidays are crazy but fun. Winter months are slow and steady. Spring fever hits, and summer brings fun and refreshment. Then it all cycles back around.
The seasons for a coach’s family work the same way.
Off-season. The months before the season are slow and steady, filled with weight lifting, conditioning, fundraising, etc. The weeks before become a little anxious. Coach is knee-deep in planning and prepping. I’m planning and prepping too, for other reasons.
Tryouts. There’s a little jittery excitement. The second week or so isn’t quite so jittery. I find myself on edge, as I readjust and brace for the heavy load of holding everyone steady for the months ahead. Transitions and shifts do that.
Pre-season. It’s so good to see coach back on the field. It’s good to see the boys we’re watching grow up back on that field. I’m a little nervous, no matter what. If last season was hard, I hope this season will be better. If last season was great, I hope they can continue with that momentum. I’ve learned that each season’s success will affect all of those around them, so I do all that I can do. Pray. Pray that the boys stay healthy and reach their goals. Pray the coaches remember that they were created for this, even when the pressure is high. Pray for the families as we try to support them the best ways we can.
Games. This is the equivalent to the holidays for school children. The mad rush from school, home for homework and supper, rush to one child’s little league game, back across town to daddy’s game, and fall into bed at 10 p.m. or so. The little ones live off of smiles from the dugout, high fives, and concession stand candy during those months. It’s wonderful, and a little insane.
Suddenly over. How is it that we’re never quite ready for this? The day after the season is like the day after Christmas. It’s hard to let go. It’s sad for our children as they realize they won’t see “their boys” everyday anymore. And even though it’s almost summer, it feels like midwinter as we slink back into what most consider a normal schedule. Every year we find ourselves asking, “What do we do now?”
The weeks following the season are hard at our house. Coach has to clean out the locker room, take up jerseys, plan the awards. At the same time, he’s home again, and I have to navigate this home-life limbo because my partner is back. After being the “head coach of the home team” for a while (as my husband calls it), I admit it takes a minute to remind myself to step back. We’ve almost been running two separate teams for months, and now it’s time to bring it back together. Then there’s graduation, that bittersweet period where you have to temper sadness with pride. Again, transition and shift.
Summer brings refreshment and reflection. Coach is planning for next year. I am, too. Maybe next year I’ll meal plan better. Maybe next year the baby will be able to walk a little steadier so we can stay for more of the games. Maybe next year… But for the time being, we enjoy time as a family. Well, our immediate family. But we always look forward to getting back to business and our baseball family.
Yes we spend much of our life concentrating on “the season” —those 3-4 months of scheduled madness. The truth of it is that for this family, it’s a year-round roller coaster with up and down stages and seasons. They ebb and flow, but they eventually cycle back.
We’re over a decade into this. I’ve never known life with my coach any other way, but I’m still learning to recognize the seasons… the moods, the emotions, the shifts that affect us all. I’ve learned there’s lessons in the losses, and our biggest victories come in the form of players and relationships, rather than games. I’ve learned that we wouldn’t appreciate one season of this life without the next, and even the hard times wouldn’t be so bearable if it weren’t for the rallies in between. I’ve learned to remember when I find myself in my winter, that it won’t be long. The seasons will shift, and spring is coming…
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.
So, each year as the season is winding down or over for good, and that feeling starts to creep in, I remind myself no matter how much I worry or even how confident I feel, it will not make a difference. I try to remind myself that whatever happens, it will all work out for our favor in the end.
Transition is never easy. We’ve been the family that leaves, and we’ve been the family that is left behind. In my experience, staying behind is as hard of an adjustment as moving.
Make a list of criteria a job needs to meet before you would consider it. This is a great help when the job market floods and you can quickly eliminate positions that do not fit your family’s goals rather than “wondering” about each option.