We all remember that feeling from middle and high school, that feeling where everyone else is suddenly best friends and you are left out of the group. Or when all of your friends come back to school on Monday, and they had a fabulous weekend, and you were not invited. Even into adulthood, there are mommy and daddy cliques, groups at work, and PTO/preschool parents where they are the cool kids, and you will never fit in with them. The pain of rejection is real. Adolescence is painful, and many have deep scars from that rejection somewhere in their lifetime. I often tell kids in my office that if they are strong enough to survive high school, they have learned lots of life lessons to prepare them for the pains of adulthood. I think the fact that we all remember this rejection so well (if you don’t remember ever being rejected from anything, you might need to check yourself…you might be a mean girl, just saying), so in turn we try to shield our kids from it.
Just this last week at bible school, the kids were supposed to bring or wear a certain item every day to get a special prize at the end. Of course the night they were supposed to wear a friendship bracelet, all but five kids had them on, and my five year old was one who did not have one. I get in a rush, and simply did not put it in my bag, plain and simple. I could see on his face that he was upset, and I could have probably made some excuse for him to get a prize anyway, but the truth was he did not have one, so he did not get a prize. He got over it, because everyone got a piece of candy at the end, and he was very pleased with his laffy taffy. Life is about consequences, and sometimes life is not always happy (he forgave me and forgot about it almost immediately)
Which brings me to the subject of baseball. I often talk about how I stopped playing softball when the other girls started throwing the ball so hard that my hand stung when I caught it. My parents allowed me to have my “last softball season”, I went on and filled my life with other activities. But, having a boy is different. Every community with an active baseball community has an “All-Star” team, and while I think having a five year old “All-Star team” is pretty ridiculous, there are clearly some who disagree (those who don’t think my kid is an All Star…personally I think it they don’t pee on the field at five years old, they should be an All Star, ha). Hearing the news that Cole had not been “selected” for this team hurt my feelings pretty deeply, because my job as his mommy is to protect him from the pain and regular rejection of life, right? Wrong. Life is not about winning. Cole will not win everything he tries. He is intelligent, verbal and so funny. He is tall, athletic and his smile and snuggles can make my day 100% better. But, not everyone is going to see in your child what you do, unfortunately. Cole’s daddy is pretty athletic, and I went on to fill my life with dance and colorguard, which is also very physical, especially on the competitive and collegiate levels. I understand that not everyone will be picked to be number one, I hardly ever sat “first chair” in the band, and did not graduate valedictorian. I rarely won a pageant and did not make cheerleading. But, I was a good student who got lots of scholarships, had a happy childhood and college life, got a couple of college degrees and have a successful adult/mommy life now.
I believe in my kid, and I will always be his biggest cheerleader. I realize that other people will be for their kiddos too, and while I understand that, I do not want my child to get hurt in the process of them building their child up (tearing other people down rarely makes you look bigger, it makes you seem pretty small, which is why I am choosing my words carefully). I propose we make and “All Star” team for the second string kids who are really great at chasing their mamas down with the sprinklers, playing fetch with their dogs, blowing bubbles, and just being five year olds, since their have the rest of their lives to compete and have their hearts broken.
*This team meets at my house at 5:00PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bring your lawn chair. Water hose, dog, bubbles and popsicles provided. 🙂