This fall, my twins are (officially) all grown up. They embark down the collegiate road; higher academia waits, and days of childish things put away. For me, this is a particularly scary time. It is a time full of uncertainty and excitement. Scary because I do not know how I am going to cope without them, and excitement for them as they head off on this new journey. While I would love nothing more than for both of their worlds to be full of nothing but abundant positivity, and have nothing but "yes's" from every university on the map, life made some different plans.
She had been waiting for this specific letter from this specific school since she applied in December. It was her first choice school, but it was a long-shot. We were not sure if she would get in; she was on the cusp of the minimum requirements for grades and SAT scores.
I could feel her anxiety seething from every pore on her tiny frame. She stared at the envelope and said, "This is it."
She ran her fingers over the return address, slowly and deliberately. I could tell that there was a battle raging inside her. She wanted to open the letter to see what it said, but at the same time, she was terrified of what it would say. My heart had stopped beating as I waited with her. I said nothing because I could not think of the right motherly thing to say.
I watched her open the package with breathless, but hopeful, trepidation. She tossed the envelope on the kitchen counter and held the letter firmly in her grasp. She unfolded it with shaky hands and began reading it aloud. She was two sentences in when everything went south.
Her acceptance letter was not an acceptance letter at all. It was a rejection letter. She was crushed. Helplessly, I stood by as her tears fell freely onto the freshly wadded paper. Without a word, she ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs. A few seconds later, I heard her bedroom door slam and more tears fall on the floor.
Her sadness hung in the air like thick smoke. And there I was, helpless inside of its cloud. I was choked up with disappointment for her, but not in her -- never in her. My little girl's world of "yes" was just rained on by a steaming pile of "no" and I never hated that word more than I did right then.
I picked up the wadded letter and read it. I breathed in, and exhaled. I set the letter back down on the counter. I knew my next move. In that instant, the universe gave me wisdom and release.
I went to her room and gave her hugs. I told my daughter I loved her, that everything would be OK and that everything happens for a reason. I told her this because I believe it is true.
I reminded my sweet girl of the $46,000 full-ride scholarship she had been awarded to another school. I told her that even though that school was not her first choice, it was still a good choice. And, while I might not exactly be thrilled with the idea that she will now (most likely) be going to a college that is five hours away from home, I have to believe that it is the best thing for her. It is her shining world of "yes" in a tiny chasm of "no." Its was a perfect answer in the eye of an awful storm. In that moment, she found solace in my words, and so did I.
Because, sometimes, when a door closes, we have to teach our sprogs where to find an open window.
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