I would dearly like to spare my children all of life's heartaches. I want to wrap up them up, and only let them see the good in the world, to protect them from everything negative. On the surface it seems like a fine quality for a mother to have, and yet I know that it is not. I know that when I look back at my own life, all of the terrible things that happened to me (and trust me on this one, there were lots), have made me into the person that I am today... and I kind of like her. As much as the terrible things, were well, terrible, I lived through them, and they gave me strength. I knew that if I could live through that, then I could conquer anything. I say this, and yet I would try to deny my children of this conquest. I just don't want to see them hurt. If I really think about it I don't want to shield them for their sake, but for mine. It just hurts too much to see someone you love in pain.
On Friday night Gracie auditioned for the newest Stirling Festival Theatre children's production. She had practiced her audition piece, and she was ready. I listened in at the bottom of the stairs to her audition piece. She had done a good job. We both thought that she had done a good job. I'll be honest I figured that she would be a shoe in because she had just done the "Munsch Tales". I told her that she should not "expect" to get in, even though she had been selected for the other play. Maybe he did not like her work in the other play. Maybe she was just not who he was looking for this time. If she did not get selected this time, she should not take it personally (even though I totally would). She said that she understood all of this. The call came in on Sunday. Gracie answered the phone. Then there was silence. Rowan shouted out "Grace didn't make it!" Grace was silent. I kept expecting to see her face in a big grin, you know the " I didn't get it..... just kidding." After ten minutes or so I called Grace into the kitchen, and asked her. "I didn't make it, but he asked me to come out and audition for the March Break play." She was fine. She was not smiling, but she also did not seem sad. "How do you feel about that?" I asked her. "Well, I wanted to get in, but I'm o.k.", and then she walked back into the living room and resumed playing with her brother and sisters.
All night I waited for the tears, but none came. I myself had tears waiting at the ready when she told me that she had not made it. In hushed tones in the privacy of our bedroom, Christopher and I puzzled through why she had not been selected. We were taking it harder than Grace was. Christopher suggested that Grace could maybe email the director and ask if there was something that she could do better for the next time. I suggested that we let sleeping dogs lie. If we make a big fuss then she will think that she should too.
Last night I went into Grace's room and asked if it would be alright if I blogged about her audition. I never want to make them feel betrayed by what I write about them. She gave me a puzzled look, "Why would I have a problem about you writing about my audition?" I struggled with the answer "I just wondered if you might be embarrassed if I wrote about it." She gave me a smile, like she thought I had a mental problem. "Yes you can write about it," then there was a pause "what are you going to write about?" I told her I wanted to write about how proud I was of her. That she had been very grown up about the way she took the rejection. She smiled at this. I really am VERY PROUD of the way she took this. She did not internalize it the way I would. She did not take it as a personal rejection, they were just looking for someone else.
My children have never really had to face very much disappointment. I am a firm believer in that if you say you are going to do something, then you have to do it! My kids know that about me. They know that they can always believe what I tell them. When we go to the doctors office, if they are going to get a needle and some dumb dumb tells them it is only going to feel like a mosquito, I correct that dumb dumb. I tell the kids that it is going to hurt, but just a little bit, and just for a little while, and it is something that they do not have a choice over. It is important to me that they trust me. They know that good or bad, what I tell them is the truth. If I lie to them, then how can they trust me. On the rare occasion that I promise something to the kids and then we are unable to do it, they take it amazingly well. I think it is that trust thing. They can trust that I have done everything in my power to keep my promise, and that I will make it up to them. There are times that I really marvel at what amazing little creatures that my children are! Maybe I need to let them experience this world of ours just a little bit more, I know in my heart that they will surprise me, and handle life's difficult situations... and learn to tell the tales about it.