The past few weeks our Princess has been working toward a goal. A goal she set for herself. She wanted to make the swim team. She’s worked hard and practiced, but I just didn’t know if it would be enough this time around. She can try again throughout the year or wait until next summer and really go for it again. I called myself preparing her for all outcomes, but especially the one where she didn’t quite reach her goal.
It was Thursday morning when she realized it wasn’t going to happen. It took her a moment. As I was gathering the littles and their things and getting ready to leave, she sat down.
I asked her why, saying that the class was over.
She looked around and asked, “Aren’t they going to give out the papers this time?” The paper. The one that said you’d finished the lessons and if a particular box was checked you were eligible to try out for the team.
“No baby, not this time.”
She looked around again, and realization dawned on her face. I pulled her close to me and walked quickly to our vehicle, not wanting the sobs to start out in the open.
See, just a week or so before she’d been in that position. Only it was because they had moved her up to the top group in the classes. She had a breakdown over her PROMOTION. She loved her instructor and change does not come easy for that one. Wonder where she got that from. Ahem. Moving along…..
The day of her promotion she started crying as soon as she came to me. I thought she might have been corrected about something, as she’s really a sensitive child and that would have torn her up. But no, she was devastated over changing teachers–she really, really loved Ms. G.
We worked through that one, and she did quite well. So last Thursday as we buckled up and pulled forward to leave, I kept glancing back in the rearview mirror, waiting for the sobs that were sure to come over the heartbreak of not making it.
Only they didn’t.
When I came to the stop sign a couple of minutes later, I looked back again. She was staring stoically out her window. She didn’t want to talk about it, I had asked. So she sat. No tears, just sadness exuding from every pore. Disappointment. My heart broke.
It was one of those life transition moments.
Because in that moment I knew she knew. That life wasn’t always going to turn out like she’d hoped. In all honesty I guess she already knew that as she’s lost two of the people she loved most in the world over the past twenty months. She cried her eyes out over both of them. This was different. Not a tear was shed. To watch my baby be sad, and to see her hold it in, and not be able to do anything to fix it.
Yeah, that. I don’t really know what to do with that.
I mean, adversity, I get it. When one of my children complains about life not being fair, I’m the one who says (trying not to roll my eyes), “Fair is where we look at RV’s, see the cows and horses and pigs, and ride the Agri-Lift; life is most definitely NOT fair.” It’s good that they not get a trophy for every little thing, or a reward for every time they help someone, or recognized every time they make a wise choice. But that day I stared disappointment in her face, and I knew something had broken in her. And that broke me.
Oh, she will try again. For her sensitive spirit and sunshiny soul, she is also very strong-willed at times. So I know that one day, if she continues to want it, she will make the team. Because she will have worked hard and earned it. And one day this will be but a blip in her memory. But for me, it will always be the day that, as my sweet friend put it, “sunshine was sad.” And that’s just hard.