Your Smiles Make Me Smile

If you really want to get the most out of my blog, it's best to start with the first post written in July to the present since some blogs refer back to earlier posts; but any order is just fine... Thanks for visiting! Now scroll on down to the good news! ~Renae~

Monday, August 22, 2011


My daughter, Nicole, was just about seven at the time, had proudly completed several group ice-skating lessons and was much better than I, who grew up in Alaska with ice-rinks instead of swimming pools.  She wanted to do a solo in her very first competition.  I was proud. I beamed.  I couldn’t afford it, but I paid for a private tutor for one hour to polish her performance.  The night before, I curled her hair, put in the bows to match her showpiece outfit, and proudly took her to the same ice rink where Kristy Yamaguchi learned to skate.  We arrived at the arena promptly with time to spare.  There was one problem; I didn’t sign Nicole up for the competition.  I’m not going to make excuses about how exhausting being a single parent is, or how I was working full time.… you are free to judge me, because no matter, there was no excuse.  I really didn’t realize I had to sign her up.  I thought she just put her name on a piece of paper and went when it was her turn.  A rookie to the world of stage mothers and glamour children, I was devastated.  Nicole was even more devastated. I proceeded to beg, to plead, to offer my first born son…..(hoping they didn't know I was infertile), there was no mercy. She was denied a spot in the competition.  I wanted so badly to take Nicole’s disappointment, her pain, all to myself, even though she sobbed quietly and handled it with such grace for a young child.  As we walked solemnly out of the rink, I apologized and explained that this gut piercing disappointment is a part of life and that I was sorry. Tremendously beyond comprehensibly, "I’ll give you anything you want….anything"…sorry.  This was the first time Nicole had learned one of the hard lessons of life. 

There was a time when I wanted to shield my daughters from disappointment, but the best I could do when justice wasn’t served was to tell them, just as my parents told me, and just as your parents I’m sure told you….“Life is Unfair.” I really hate that cliché, but it was the only tool I had to offer at the time. Then, miraculously, I came up with a brainstorm, which isn’t much better but it sure sounded good! “Disappointment goes under the ‘Life Is Unfair’ column.  If you can keep that column shorter than the ‘Life is Good’ column, then you are ahead of the curve.”  It didn’t really help, but it’s a nice thing to say.

Disappointment creeps into our lives on so many levels -- from the superficial (“I wish I had her body”), to the profoundly deep cutting reality of health issues, job loss, marital strife, and even being picked last by your friends in gym class because you weren’t popular enough.  I know; I was one of those kids; those anxiety ridden kids thinking “oh pllllleeeeasssseeee don’t let me be picked last, please, please, please don’t let me be picked last.”  That’s when I learned to pray.  I usually settled for second to last. Even that sucked.

Then there’s the disappointment of when you think something should be, and it simply is not.  The “stab me in the heart and twist the knife until you make me bleed” kind.  The loss of trust in something or someone we believed in with all our heart who with a few words, broke us.  “Did you really say what I think you just said?” Words can be harsh. They are more powerful than some weapons of mass destruction because they can destroy our psyche and ultimately can lead to the death of friendships, family relationships, and love. Be careful with your words. 

Then there’s the “You did WHAT?” kind of disappointment – hence, resulting in two divorces for me personally and probably 50% of the “used to be married” population. Ugh; those damn disappointments.  I could make a list all the way from losing a secure job to my kid just got knocked up, to finding out you or your loved one has cancer, but you just go ahead and fill in the blank yourself, it all fits.

Except for the superficial variation, I am still known to crawl into a ball and hide under my covers when I am hurting...or I yell at someone; whoever is within range to suffer my furry. I used to throw things, but I grew out of that last week thank God.  We really are no different than children when we feel pain. It hurts just the same, only as an adult, we are expected to handle life with grace and maturity, not throw a temper tantrum.  It’s an acting skill I’ve mastered, but only because I am a good little actress.  On the inside, I’m throwing plates at walls.

We eat, we drink to excess, we pop pills, hide under the covers (me), yell (me), cry (me)…and grab another glass of wine or beer or whatever we have to give us relief and then, finally, we try to get through with the only life boat we've been thrown.  It’s name? “Grief.”  Grief is there to catch us when we fall.  If you’ve ever met an angry old soul who hates the world, I guarantee they got stuck somewhere in “anger” and never made it into “acceptance.”  (See Erik Erickson’s Theory of Development No. 8 - Ego Integrity v. Despair). That guy was right on the mark.  Like an old vinyl record that has a scratch and plays over and over and over…they are stuck.  Never ever get stuck, it’s a baaaaad place to be. 

I know that life is unfair.  I know a million times over.  I could write my own sob stories and those of the people I love for the next 49 years…:  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Acceptance is all we can hope for.  We have the power to look for the options available and eventually, even if over a long period of time, we move into acceptance, because quite frankly, there is no other viable option.

Please don’t get stuck. Life is too short.  If you let disappointment rule your days, it will, because it’s all around us.  But in the end, in the very end, if your column of “Life is Unfair” is shorter than your “Life is Good” column, then the good news is, you are in fact, ahead of the curve, even if when it doesn’t feel like it.

 Sweet dreams and always, GOOD dreams.


Anonymous said...

i liked it.... jamie awana

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jamie!