When I created a recent short video on my website(jewishmom.com) about kids getting rejected from schools, I was certain that I was making that peptalk to comfort other parents whose kids would be getting rejection letters.
My daughter was, for sure, going to be accepted to the schools she applied to. But in the end, JewishMOMs plan and G-d laughs.
So last night and this morning I watched my own peptalk to cheer myself up (surprisingly, it actually helped:).
B”H, my daughter was accepted into her second choice, which I’ve heard is a great school. Maybe even a better fit for my daughter. Though with one or two serious drawbacks.
But it does sting. To have people, like, feel sorry for me and my “poor daughter.” And it doesn’t make things any easier that all of my daughter’s friends were accepted to her top choice. And it’s also embarrassing to be the subject of curiosity … “Hmm, she wasn’t accepted. Weird, she seems like such a great girl! I wonder what’s the matter with her!?”
So, I called my friend this morning to vent. And after listening and empathizing, she made the following outrageous suggestion: to spend a few minutes over the next few days thanking Hashem that he accepted all these other girls. Really working, deep down, on feeling happy for them.
“You can choose to be a higher person,” my friend assured me this morning, “This is a true, real-life self-improvement course! A crash course in humility and empathy for others facing disappointment.”
So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m working on feeling really happy for these other overjoyed girls and their overjoyed and relieved parents.
I realize that this work, for me, actually feels like returning a favor. To all the people who danced at my wedding, or wished me mazal tov at my kiddushes and brises and bat mitzvahs–when they would have preferred to stay in bed and mourn the fact that they weren’t celebrating simchas of their own.
And also, this attempt to feel happy for others who got what I wanted but didn’t, feels uncomfortable, unnatural, yet also surprisingly good. Cleansing sort of. Not only talking about emuna–blah blah blah. But actually living it.
Postscript — I finished up this post right before my daughter came home from school today. I was pretty shocked when she came home very excited that she will be attending (what was until a few hours ago) her second choice school, and happy for her friends who will be attending what was (until a few hours ago) her first choice.
They’re all out now celebrating with ice cream sundaes. Amazing how much we can learn from our own children. I’m so very, very proud of her!