Dearest Daughter…So you did not make the team;
I watched you meticulously pick out matching softball outfits to wear for the tryouts. We bought new cleats and practiced for weeks and weeks ahead of time. Ground balls, and hitting, and fielding and pop flies galore. You have grown so much in your softball ability over the past year, I like you – was filled with the hopefulness that this time you would see your hard work pay off.
After tryouts, we talked about what you felt you did right, and what you felt you did wrong. You had a bad spell where your head got in the way, but you were okay, you were completely posed to do your best. I cannot express in words how proud of you I was (and am) for putting yourself out there. For it is those that dare to try that often face the most disappointment. And try you did. If I was the coach, I would have picked you in a minute. For I know your heart, and I know how much you love this game, and I know how hard you have worked and how much you have improved.
But I am not the coach.
We waited together the long couple hours before “the list” of numbers would be posted. I twirled your hair, offered you a snack which you declined and tried to make the time pass quickly. In that time, it was apparent how much your heart was in it. It was apparent to me how much you really wanted to be on the team. Part of me was impressed by your maturity while the other part wanted to protect you from any potential let down you may or may not face.
And then, in one sweeping moment, a picture came through text. We scoured the numbers together realizing quickly yours was not there. We looked again. My stomach dropped, the tears started.
Within moments you broke down in chest heaving tears, an inconsolable few moments where all I could do was hold you. I knew nothing I said would help, and that at that moment your heart felt broken.
That is by far the most difficult of being a mom. Watching your kids in pain. It doesn’t matter how trivial we think the pain is, knowing they are hurting and that there is nothing I can do to take it away, is hard. In the back of my head, I know that this pain, this disappointment, this letdown will only prove to be a valuable life lesson for you – making you an even remarkable human being. But it hurts nonetheless.
At that moment I wanted to shield you. I wanted to be mad and find excuses and someone to blame. Those people are just stupid. I wanted to criticize the kids that made it, because YOU are better. I wanted to text the dumb coach, and I don’t know, hurl cusswords… I started falling into the spiral of thinking people were mean, and out to get you, and NOT FAIR.
But instead, I just held on to you while you cried. And when we wiped the tears away. Because after all LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS GOING TO BE FAIR, and I want you to be resilient to that unfairness.
I want you to be able to see yourself and decide who you are and what you can and cannot do.
I want you to be able to think rationally and logically even when things do not go your way in life.
I want you to not (NEVER EVER) pin your happiness to one singular thing, and to be able to handle both the good news and the bad news that will no doubt be hurled at you for the rest of your life.
As much as I wish I could take away your pain, I also know that this pain is ohhh sooo temporary, unless YOU (AND I) decide to dwell on it.
I want you to see that just because one team turned you down, doesn’t mean that is your story. Because my dear, your story is still unfolding, and you aren’t even halfway through the book.
In those moments of your weeping and sadness, as much as I wanted to take away your pain, I also want you to learn and grow from it. I want you to be an OVERCOMER, and a person who hasn’t had everything fixed for you.
I wish I could have fixed it. Maybe if I raised enough hell, I could have done something. My first reaction was to be mad and angry. But that is not the lesson I want you to learn.
So I will hold you while you cry. And I will listen to you. And I will hear what you say, and be there for you to remind you that there is absolutely nothing in this world you cannot do – UNLESS YOU give up.
I will remind you that one NO is not the end of the world, unless YOU decide to stop trying.
I will tell you that one or two peoples opinions of you in a short tryout, is not the definition of you.
I will help you figure out ways to make the next team, and I will support you in every way possible.
I will tell you over and over again that you are worthy, that you are capable, that you are strong and that you can do anything you set your mind to.
I will tell you as many times as it takes that no matter how bad it feels right now, it is not the end of the world.
I will encourage you to get up and get on with things, and help you to see that one setback is not a destination but just part of the journey.
I will remind you of your talent, your hard work, and will show you again just how far you have already come – and how far you can go.
This is not easy for me. None of this is. Because truth be told I want to punch someone in the throat for hurting your feelings. I want to react in the worst ways, and type nasty things on social media, and somehow protect you and fix things. But in doing that I take away all the good you have to offer, and I take away all the hardwork you have put in, and I take away any chance that you will be motivated by rather than hindered by, this bump in the road.
So YOU will try again. And you will rise when the time is right for YOU. And your time is coming. And I am so proud of you for everything you have accomplished so far, and I know that the best is yet to come.