Disappointed . . .
When I picked Delaney up from school today, the look on her face said it all. Then, when she caught my eye through the car window, she softly shook her head. I knew what she meant, and it broke my heart.
It wasn't really a big thing ... but it was big to her, so it was big to me.
She was determined to make a team at school called the Newcomb team. It's some weird abberation of volleyball, where they serve and hit the ball over like volleyball but actually catch the ball with their hands before throwing it back over the net. They'd been practicing and "trying out" in PE for the last two weeks. Delaney was frustrated at the beginning, because she couldn't serve it over every time.
"Coach said that we'd need to be able to serve it over every time, to make the team," Delaney would announce to me. But she'd proudly gotten better as try-outs kept going along. "I made it over every serve today," she said yesterday. Then this morning: "They're supposed to tell us today who made it." She smiled a little bit, but also had that worried look in her eyes.
Delaney is a very athletic girl--you all have heard mine and Gary's stories about her abilities at softball. She is a natural softball player and I'm always amazed at what she can do when she's so much smaller than the other players her age.
But Newcomb? Well, height is definitely an advantage in it and, although I don't pretend to know the coach's thoughts, I'd imagine that was Delaney's downfall.
So what did I tell her? I gave her all the requisite Mommy lines.
"You did your best. That's all you can ask."
"Be proud of how you tried so hard. I'm sure you did great."
"It must be very hard for the coach to choose her players. I'm sure it was hard not to pick you."
"We need to realize that we can't excel at everything we try. This can help you be more sympathetic to the girls who don't make All Stars or travel teams like you."
"You know you're so good at so many other things, right? You are wonderful at softball and singing and writing and school."
"Try and be happy for your friends who did make it."
And then, at the end, it was that last line that made it even harder for her to take. Her four best friends all made the team, and she didn't. I think we've all been there, haven't we?
It's times like these that make it hard to be a parent. But it's also times like these that make it so gratifying. Knowing that what I can say can make Delaney into a better person, a better friend, and a better sport.
But of course all of that doesn't mean much of anything to her right now. So, to raise her spirits, I made her some cupcakes, gave her a big hug, and am taking her to buy a "Hannah Montana" wig for Halloween. Because in the midst of disappointment, it's the little things that might make it all better. . . or at least help a little bit.