No, thank you.

I thought I was in the clear for a few years.

Scott and I are deep into the school-age years of parenting.

It’s the years some might call the “honeymoon of parenting.” These are the years when the kids are independent enough to make their own dinner or take a shower yet aren’t old enough to roll their eyes and take off in their car.

Hm, honeymoon.

“A honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion.”

This ain’t no honeymoon. 

This is re-living your childhood. I don’t have any memory of being an infant or toddler. I barely remember kindergarten or even life-changing events like my siblings being born. The pieces I do remember from my early childhood probably stem more from looking at pictures than the memory itself.

I couldn’t pull on my own life events to help guide me as I raised my babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Scott didn’t help either. Like every parent, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. Once Emma learned how to talk, the first thing we did was film her saying “tequila shots!”

Our daughters are in 5th grade and 2nd grade.

Without calling my kids out and embarrassing them with the details – they each tried out for two separate things they’re passionate for. They both didn’t get it and other kids did. They both got the “sorry, you’re not good enough” slip handed to them on their way out. To make it worse, they happened to receive this news on the same day.

They both came home in tears. That’s an understatement. Let me try again.

They both came home with their heart ripped out, humiliated for even thinking they were good enough, they swore every kid pointed and laughed at them, and they vowed to never pursue anything that required a try-out. I know the feeling. Whether it comes from a teacher or a peer, someone telling you you’re not good enough feels like a slap in the face.

And then the girls pulled out math homework and the world came crashing down again. We had a rough night.

The real world caught up to the two babies we have no idea how to raise. The world where everyone makes the team ended last night. Emma and Kate learned that there are kids out there better than they are. They learned about rejection.

“No, thank you” is hard to hear, even as an adult.

I told the girls they are braver than I was at their age. As a child, I didn’t even try-out for anything. If it involved a stage or drawing attention to me, I didn’t want to do it. My rejections came more from friendships. Scott’s rejections were always sports-related. Even now, I told the girls every book they read in school has a pile of authors that received rejection letters. Rejection comes with the writing territory. I expect the answer is no and often it is. But that doesn’t stop me from trying again because I have to be good if I heard one yes.

I realized the only way I handle rejection is through maturity, something both girls don’t have yet.

The girls are still hurt.

I guess the point of this post is parenting is hard. You trade sleepless nights for toddler tantrums. You trade toddler tantrums for your preschooler yelling, “tequila shots!” to the class. You trade “tequila shots” outbursts for facing rejection.

But I don’t need to tell you that.

Scott and I went to bed last night feeling worthless because our kids felt worthless. The same memories of rejection we felt as kids showed up again. Our kids are going through the part of life we remember.

I hope they come out with more courage.


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14 thoughts on “No, thank you.

  1. One of my favorite blogs you’ve done. One of my friends/former coworkers (also a writer) suggested this great theme for a book: “The Time I Didn’t Make Cheerleader.” Stories about successful people who didn’t make cheerleader. Her then-high-school-aged daughter was going through it, and it all came flooding back to me too. Somehow we all survived it and have normal, happy, (mostly) successful lives. But DAMN it hurts in the moment.


    1. Thank you! You made my day with your sweet comment. And I LOVE that theme for a book!! I would buy it for the girls. I’d buy it for myself too, as I was never a cheerleader/drill team/etc. Rejection sucks. On the other side, if they ever do make a team, I hope they stay humble and remember what it feels like not to be picked.


  2. I don’t have school aged children, yet. As facebook has shown my world, I have a baby and a toddler. It’s things like rejection that I don’t think about or prepare for. This was good for me to read and I enjoy all your blogs. I am, though, so sorry for your girls. They are both truly amazing from what I can tell and you and Scott should proudly take credit for some (or probably most) of it 😊


    1. Aw, thanks Amie!! I feel terrible for them. They both try so hard. I don’t want them to go to middle school. I feel like a storm is brewing if history repeats itself. 🙈 I will not make them dorky.


  3. Man, that was a rough realization. I hope they bounce back from this. Being in an industry that probably hears rejection more than any other in the world, and most of the time while I’m in the room and to my face, I feel for how hard that can be. Stay strong!


    1. In the room and to your face?? NO! I would die. You’re right, actors probably hear rejections the most.
      They’ll be ok. They were quiet this morning. But better after school. I’m just upset this upsets scott and me as much as the girls.


  4. I’m not usually one to share, but here goes. Last week after church, my 13 year old son hopped in the car and said that the teen leaders were talking about volunteers for “worship and tech”. My first response was, “You didn’t volunteer did you?”, thinking I don’t have time nor desire to bring him to a practice during the week and show up early or stay late for church. (Not very Christian, I know, but God forgives, right?) We started the drive home, he was quiet, so I asked, “What did you sign up for?” and he responded “The worship team….drums.”

    Let me insert here that my son knows how to play the cello, and has a drum set at home, but pretty much only knows how to play drums to songs on the RockBand video game. Needless to say, my response was immediate and harsh, “BUT YOU DON’T PLAY THE DRUMS!” My husband very calmly responded, “They’ll figure that out soon enough. I’ll take him.” (That’s a miracle I won’t go into.)

    My heart wants to protect my son from the embarrassment of demonstrating to everyone that he volunteered for something that he had no business doing, and having been there myself as a kid, I wanted to spare him from that. My husband on the other hand, sees it as an opportunity for him to try something, get involved and if he fails, he learns and adjusts. I suppose he’s right because they have to make mistakes to learn from them and grow, but it sure is hard to stand by and watch as a parent.

    Not sure what my point is in sharing….I feel your pain… keeps happening no matter how old they get… doesn’t get any easier to watch…and one day, they will succeed and your pride will outshine theirs. You’re raising kids who will eventually be adults who know how to deal with all the world is going to throw at them. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard to watch as a parent. I don’t know the point in writing this post. I guess a reminder that parenting isn’t always fun and so many others can relate. Thank you of telling me about your son. Maybe after learning from this experience, he’ll take drum lessons and be the best one out there one day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This one tugged at my heart strings over and over. I actually read it last week, and thought about it through the weekend as watched my own kiddos go through their own stuff.

    Isn’t it amazing to have a partner in crime to handle these horrible-feeling moments? It would be great if our kiddos never hurt and or suffered disappointment, but we all know that’s not the way of the world. My hubby still talks about the day he picked up Tanna (she was a 7th grader at the time) after a week of volleyball tryouts. It was like an after school movie – sitting on the steps with her head hung between her little legs. She wasn’t chosen. And every time he mentions it, I make him look at her now with a K-state diploma in her hands off to be a nurse and probably a wife and mother someday. She never once looked back on that day she was cut from the volleyball team–it’s harder for parents than it is for them. I am convinced of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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