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Today's Setback is Tomorrow's Triumph (Or Something Like that?)

3 years ago

934 words

Photo: The incline is steep, but we climb because we know the view at the top will be totally worth it. Or the feeling of accomplishment, no matter where we choose to stop. And isn’t it wonderful when someone is there to share the steps with us?


The latest literary rejection came at 5pm on Saturday, just as I was pulling on an outfit that I actually planned and spritzed on a little perfume so as to venture out into the world on my own and be woman and friend, not mother, for the evening. My friends are vegetarian and they asked me to bring a side dish for our little gathering, so I’d been kicking myself all week about what to bring. They were prepping some salad and some pasta, and those were my easy go-to preps for such a thing. Everything I cook best is meat based! Then it hit me: bruschetta. Tomatoes from our garden, basil from our garden, perfectly toasted little crostinis and, for a little extra something, little squares of fresh mozzarella. Perfecto, as the cooking shows would say.

I’d already chilled the dry rose my friend asked for (blech) and some sweet riesling for myself (yay!). I was a woman ready to go. Get the earrings on, get a peek at the mirror and


My phone gave the “you’ve got mail” chime and, Lord, why did I look?

It didn’t ruin my evening but, yeah, it was a bummer. I thought for sure I’d chosen the right market for this story and I was telling myself that this was going to be the first “yes.” I gathered my food, through my purse over my shoulder and left my house with a little less exuberance that I thought I would. I stepped down our little front porch stairs and onto our front yard, where my two little boys were playing in the dirt.

woooooooooow. Where are you going, Mommy?” Major asked me from across the yard.

He and Minor stopped what they were doing to run in my direction which, of course, scared me! I’m clean! I’m wearing black! Ya’ll are covered head to toe in dusty dirt!! I held my hands in front of me in that crossing-guard style “STOP!” sort of way. “Mommy is going into town to see some friends. Mommy loves you, but we can’t hug because I’m very clean. Probably cleaner than I’ve been all week! So…” I blew them both kisses and waved. “Have a good evening! Be good for daddy!”

They blew kisses back at me. “I like your hair!” Major said.

“And I like your pretty yellow shirt!” Minor said.

Sometimes, little boys are the best.


They were still a handful this weekend. Major’s new fun thing is to speak his expectation on how something is going to go, (“I really want to see some Blaze right now”) and then when it doesn’t go that way (“Well, baby, we are going to watch Sesame Street right now”), he expresses his disappointment in very negative ways (“Oh! That’s awful!” then he covers his ears and stomps around, pouting, for the next ten minutes). It’s not quite a tantrum, as there is no screaming involved, but it is still disruptive and not terribly helpful. We talked a lot about this weekend about wants, needs, and what to do when we’re disappointed. “You can’t get what you want all the time, baby. You know that,” I seemed to repeat over and over again.

And he’d give me this death stare like nothing I’ve ever seen. Just contempt of the most visceral kind.

So it goes. The disdain is temporary. So is the sweetness, unfortunately. These early lessons are tough, some future lessons will be even tougher, but they all must be learned. I know he’ll thank me later.

The good news is that Daddy got them out of the house a few times this weekend, leaving me alone with my thoughts and my tasks. A quiet, hot and humid house. Hey, sounds like a good excuse to put on some jazz. I did a lot of writing, a little editing, and even a little crafting this weekend. Unfortunately, the crafting also ended in utter failure. That pretty embroidery I put up a picture of last week? Destroyed by my sewing machine. Decimated, actually. All because of my carelessness, too. I couldn’t even bear to take a picture of it. A week’s worth of work, destroyed in a flash. So my nephew will get no adorable little embroidered star to go with his two awesome birthday books. Bummer. You can’t learn without failure. It really isn’t possible. I’m grateful for the lessons, even when they hurt at the time.

That’s why I’m not all broken up about my latest rejection. I just keep writing, I just keep sending out what I think is my best, and I just keep growing. This latest “no” will make my first “yes” that much more incredible. This last craft failure makes me want to sew something beautiful (by hand) and share it with someone I love. I’ve already got ideas. Hopefully I’ll share some with you soon.

In the mean time, our only choice is to look forward to a productive week. Right, Dear Reader? Monday is over, the wind is at our back, and we must move forward. So march on, Dear Reader, and do so with earnest and a smile. Tell someone you love them along the way, and maybe do something nice for someone, too.  I’ll see you Wednesday. Until then, take care.

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