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.
“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.