Today, I received a text from my daughter.
“I didn’t make the show. I thought I had a great audition and callbacks went great. But nope. Didn’t even make it.”
As I read the words, my stomach dropped while my heart simultaneously ached for her. There was a pit in my stomach. That familiar pit. The pit of rejection.
Only this rejection wasn’t mine. It was hers. And yet, the pit was still there—aching for her.
Because I have seen the time she has put into practicing. I have heard the doubt and the uncertainty before tryouts. And then the joy when she made callbacks. I know she puts her heart and her soul and her energy into this, and she wants it so badly. And I want it for her.
Because that’s what we do as parents.
We want our children to succeed. We stand in their corner.
From the moment they are placed in our arms, we become their support system. Their cheerleaders. We root for them and cheer for them and do whatever is in our power to help them achieve their dreams and goals.
But sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes, it’s not meant to be.
Sometimes, regardless of the amount of time and effort and hoping and praying and trying that is put in—sometimes, rejection still comes. Sometimes, they don’t make the team. Or receive the callback. Or get accepted into the club. Or get into the school of their dreams.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.
And this isn’t an easy life lesson to learn at any age. Right? I mean I’m in my 40s, and it’s still not easy. No matter how old I am, the sting of rejection is a blow that is very real and very hard to take.
The sting of rejection can linger. And the danger lies in letting it fester. In letting it become bigger than this one thing.
We can take the rejection and allow it to motivate us and inspire us to want to try harder. To learn more. To keep going. Or we can take it and believe it is some indication that we are destined for failure.
I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. Fast enough. Talented enough. Everyone else is better than me. Whatever it may be, we have to be cautious that the negatives don’t take over. Or even worse, trick us into believing we can never try again.
After I received the text from my daughter, I wanted so badly to drive to the school and pick her up and bring her home. I wanted to give her hugs and cookies and snuggle on the couch with Harry Potter movies. I could imagine her trying to fight back the tears and the emotion as she spent the day congratulating all her close friends who were cast in the show. I wanted to rescue her from that pain. To protect her. To try to take it away.
But here’s the thing . . . I can’t.
I can love her and I can be there for her and I can encourage her and offer my shoulder to cry on and make oodles and oodles of cookies (which I did), but I cannot fix this.
This is a road she needs to walk down, and hopefully, in the end, traveling through the rejection will make her stronger.
Hopefully, it will motivate her instead of becoming a lie of unworthiness that continues to whisper in her ear. Hopefully, the lesson learned will be one she can carry with her, and maybe even use one day to speak truth and words of inspiration to someone else who is walking a similar path of heartache.
But for right now, it just hurts. It’s not fun. It stinks.
But I know she will be OK. Rejection is a part of life. It’s not an easy part, but it is a part. And as much as we want to shelter our children from it, we can’t. They will have struggles in life, just as we have had as their parents. And they will find their way to the other side, just like we did.
In the meantime, we just need to continue to be there for them.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I just sent her a text with a picture of the cookies and a note saying she could have as many as she wanted when she got home—because some days require more cookies than others.
My heart hurts for my daughter today.
But I have faith that incredible things are waiting around the corner.
And I am so grateful I get to be her mom and to have a front-row seat to all that is yet to be.