It took me year to talk her into auditioning. I finally got here there on a dark Monday evening last week. As we sat on the floor with our backs to the cement block wall, she talked nearly nonstop – nervous chatter about everything and anything while we waited for them to call everyone back for the dance portion of the audition.

When I checked the results on the playhouse’s website on Monday, I saw “Kelly” and “Grace” (her middle name) and I thought she got in. I was so excited for her. I wished I could call her at school. I texted my husband and called my mom.  It was only later, while shopping during my lunch hour, that I realized I’d never put her middle name on any of the forms.

A closer look confirmed what I suspected. I’d read it wrong.

Dammit.

I emailed the couple of friends that I’d already told. I called my mom back. Texted my husband again.

“i read the adution results wrong. she didn’t get in.”

“good thing you didnt tell her,” he texted back.

But I would have to tell her. Eventually, she was going to ask me.

Shit. Why do I have to tell her?

She had voice lessons after school so I had some time. I told Lauren, which I should have known better than to do. She couldn’t keep a secret if you sewed her mouth shut.

They were outside together for less than 5 minutes when Kelly came in, Lauren trailing behind her, and asked me if I checked the results. I said I had as I glared at Lauren who gave me a “I dunno” shrug. Like I’m stupid.

“She wasn’t supposed to tell you,” I said.

“Tell me what?”

“You didn’t make it, Kelly. I’m really sorry. You can try out for…”

“I’m not trying out for anything ever again.  I knew it. I knew I wouldn’t get picked….” and it went on from there. Whether the playhouse can see it or not, the girl is a drama queen and we were treated to a command performance that evening.

She doesn’t know how to handle disappointment/rejection yet, so she takes it out on me and her sister and, every once in awhile, her dad. Lauren and I took the brunt of it Monday, but she eventually calmed down and apologized.

She was hurt though and prepared to spend the night sulking and hating herself and though I had about 165 things to do and blogs to write (sigh), I grabbed the thickest blanket in the living room and a book we’d been trying to read together for a month (a chapter here & there), patted the couch next to me, and said: “let’s read.”

She didn’t want to. She just wanted to be alone. She didn’t want to sit with me. She didn’t need me trying to make her feel better. And she didn’t want to read Maze Runner anymore.

But I insisted. I forced her to sit with me. I moved closer and covered us both with the blanket. I told her that she didn’t have to listen, but I was going to read a chapter anyway.

When we finished, she ran up to her room and came back with two more books she wanted to read to me.

We sat there for a couple hours reading. When we finished she was smiling and laughing aging. And, for once…for once, I felt like I’d done the right thing.

Teenagers are a minefield. You never know when you’re going to step into something and blow it all to hell. But, this time, I avoided the trip wires. We all got out unscathed.

These little victories keep me going.

And they remind me that all these other things I “need” to do aren’t really all that important compared to what really needs to be done right now. I’ve only got a few more years with my girls. They should be my priority. If that means my blogs don’t get updated, my ass gets bigger, and my house gets dusty, then so be it.

children
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About Just Write “What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.