Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sometimes the Answer is Just 'No'

I have managed, and meted out, a lot of futility experiences over the years as it concerns my kids.  So often I am in the position of having to say 'no' and it is healthy for them to experience the resoluteness of that and the sadness of not being able to effect change in their circumstances; these experiences help them to adapt and to know that they can survive the futility of those things they cannot change.

Sometimes, unwillingly, I face futility myself.  And I suppose that's good for me to experience, too.

I recently experienced a disappointment that was the result of someone else's decision about me and my children.  It was something that I really, really wanted, and it was going to impact how we do school in the coming year.  But the answer was no and, given that I can do nothing to change or otherwise effect this outcome, I am faced with how to manage my own futility about the situation.

This 'no' brings up baggage issues for me...feelings of rejection mostly.  I want to be clear that the decision I'm sad about had nothing to do with me at a personal level - I wasn't, in fact, being rejected at a personal level.  But my baggage predisposes me to feeling it as a rejection and I struggle with this.  I struggle with not feeling good enough.  Just not enough.

As I've meandered my way through the first six years of being 40-something, I've actually become much more comfortable in my own skin than ever I was previously.  I'm more comfortable being a larger woman (though not necessarily happy about it), I'm Ok knowing that not everyone is going to like me, I'm Ok having differences of opinion and even occasionally addressing issues of conflict that arise, I'm mostly Ok parenting in a style that is different than most other people in my life, and I'm usually Ok asserting my opinion.

But all of these things are slightly different than feeling the pain of rejection, whether intended or not.  I've been stressed these last few days as I have begun to process this recent hurdle:  I've noticed myself over-talking and even interrupting; I've offered a few too many opinions and critical comments; and I've been anxious and not sleeping well.

What I didn't do for a number of days was simply feel the sadness of that decision on my life, on our lives.  And the truth of it is that I am sad more than any of those other feelings.  I have no desire to get into the details of what happened, but it was something that I was really, really hoping for, something that I wanted to pour myself into, something that I wanted my children to experience, something that would have changed our next year and beyond.  I'm sad that we're going to miss out on all of that.  I'm sad that I won't be able to make the contributions I was gearing up to jump into.  I'm sad that my kids will miss out on something that I thought would be really good for them as we foray a little into the world of unschooling.

I'll adapt, I know I will.  And I'll be ok.  Things are as they were meant to be, and my sadness about what I cannot change will orchestrate my adaptation and resilience.  But for now, for just a little while, I think it's ok to just be sad because the answer wasn't what I so badly wanted to hear.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks Tammy - you're really a sweet person and always have a way with words that resonates with me! Talk soon...and your boys need to get over here soon to test out the trampoline! Talk next week!



  3. Tammy, sorry! I accidentally pressed a wrong button after publishing your lovely comment and I've deleted it! Yikes - clumsy!! And it seems to heinous to say 'this comment has been removed by a blog administrator' - as if you'd written something inappropriate!! But I'm glad at least I got to read it before doing that.

    Sorry 'bout that!


  4. Hi Ruth,

    This is Leanne from Music Class (mom to Nadia & Matthew). I've been "stalking" your blog for a while now :) and I've been appreciating your writing on developing your own homeschool philosophy and working through what that will look like for your family. As I feel like I'll be formally starting this homeschool journey in Sept, I'm spending much time in thought, thinking about how we want our homeschool to look. The summer season seems to be prime time for doing just that. I'm wondering if you'd be interested in getting together to chat about some of your thoughts/plans for next year. I'd love to hear about your general, and specific, plans, as well as your reasons for implementing them. Thanks!

  5. Hey Leanne -
    Thanks for being here...I had no idea!

    I have much more writing to come on h/school philosophy and how I'm envisioning that might look for our family. And yes, I'd be very happy to get together with you - I'd love exchanging thoughts and ideas as to how this might work. My thoughts aren't worked through yet, but perhaps that would be the BEST time to be chatting about them.

    Why don't you leave me your private email address here...when I see it, I'll delete the comment rather than publishing it, and I'll send you a private email.


  6. Wise words Ruth, thanks.

    I agree that feeling the sadness is important. I remember graduating from university and applying for a job that I really, really wanted. I went through a rigorous interviewing process that included 3 plant tours and 7 interviews by everyone from a shop floor supervisor to the CEO. It was down to me and 2 other people. When I got the phone call that I didn't get the job, and when I found out that it had gone to someone who hadn't even been part of the interviewing process, I was crushed. After lying on the couch for a while feeling very, very sad, I got up, set up the camera and the timer and took a picture of myself on the couch, under a blanket, looking very, very sad. Somehow it was comforting and cathartic knowing that sometime in the future, my older self would look at that picture and laugh a little about the experience.

    Wishing you much grace and wisdom as you figure out what's next on your path.


  7. Thanks for sharing that great story, Heidi! Maybe I should take a picture, too. :)