Rochester, New York . It was 2,727 miles from the West Coast. I could ‘feel’ the miles each day after we moved. It was the first time we had lived away from our family since my husband and I started a family and I felt so alone. After we moved, I realized how critical our community of friends had been in our lives. Many of our friends had similar interests and kids the same ages as ours. In those 2,727 miles, I lost all of that and had to start over.
When we moved I did not know where to grocery shop, where to get a haircut, where to take toddlers on snowy days, who the best pediatrician was in town, and the list went on and on of the ‘unknowns’ in our new city. I needed to find people who understood my current life stage and knew about the ‘unknowns’ that mattered to me.
My husband and I had made a policy early on in our marriage that we would be deeply involved within our community. This always included finding a church where we could serve and grow deeper in our relationship with God. It meant being vulnerable and investing ourselves in friends who could move away. We found that by investing ourselves early, we got the most out of friendships and our time in one location.
In working with professional athletes and their families, especially with the wives and girlfriends, I see the same want for community. Their time in one city may be a month, a partial season, or maybe a few years. They do not have the luxury to question if a move is good for their family. More often, they have to go where a contract takes them or where a position is available for their husbands to play the sport they love. They often repeat this process over and over again throughout their husband’s soccer career.
As I’ve observed the player’s wives and girlfriends, I’ve heard them ask questions like mine when we moved to a new city, “where is a good place to live?” or “where is the best preschool?” They have to place their trust in other player’s wives and girlfriends who may have been in town for a few months or years longer than them.
It is in these times I believe we, as counselors, can bridge the gap and support these unique situations. We are blessed to be consistent individuals in the family suite who they trust. We have the ability to speak into their lives — to encourage and counsel them when they have ‘unknowns’ in their lives. I feel blessed to be in this unique space with them and to see the endless possibilities with assisting them to feel confident in their transition to a new city. Even if they can ‘feel’ the miles away from their family, as part of the counseling team, I can listen and be present when they feel alone and need support.
— Brooke Ewert