My sister just texted me asking me where the hell my blog has gone for the past month. Well, I am officially Going Through A Lot (which, frankly, my sister knows since it’s mainly family shit and she’s Going Through A Lot, too, and she should know as well as anyone that you can’t really have a month in which you tape multiple DNR orders to multiple refrigerators and then turn around and write or say something funny. If I’m not trying to be funny, then I don’t really want to write about death because I have a standing date to write about my mother’s death every year and, frankly, death, while occasionally slightly funny, is really just sad and depressing and not worth focusing on until you have to.) And writing is like exercising in that you can get out of the habit really really fast, and sometimes you just have to suck it up and go for a short run or write a short post to try to get back in the habit because you’re happier when you’re doing it. (And I could make a sex joke here but I’ll let you do that.)
So, I will capitulate and talk politics, because there was a recent election that I REALLY cared about. One for which I enthusiastically made posters, rudely pushed my agenda on my friends, aggressively took to social media to further the chances of my candidate winning it all, and laid awake at night worrying about what the opposition would do.
Caroline ran for 5th grade president of the student council.
Now, I’ll be honest. When she said she hoped her class would nominate her to run, I hoped she wouldn’t get nominated. Mainly because I was being a bad mother and I didn’t want to deal with the drama of a ten-year-old girl in a popularity contest. But she was nominated, and she ran, and she made cute posters (even though I told her, "Don’t be hesitant, vote Caroline for president" was a bit wordy and that hesitant was a big word for the younger kids to even pronounce).
She ran against three great kids, one girl and two boys. She’s friends with all of them and I’m friends with all their mothers, and I knew for a fact that any of these guys would rock it as president. We all sat in the gym a few weeks ago and listened to four earnest speeches filled with humor and honesty and promises.
She was edged out by a boy in a wig who sang "Call Me Maybe." (There was a girl who sang Katy Perry who did win another office, so perhaps Caroline’s downfall was that she can’t carry a tune. We’ll never know.)
Do I wish she had won? Sort of. But only sort of, because I have to say the big life lesson was in losing. And by "big life lesson," I mean for me. Because, for maybe the first time, I got to see Caroline handle what was, relative to her happy life, a huge disappointment. And I got to step back and just see what she did.
So yes, I got to see a few tears. But then I got to see her instantly congratulate her friend who won. And I got to see her adorable friends hug her and tell her they voted for her. And I got to see her wonder if maybe she could run for class representative. And I got to see her not take it personally, and not place blame anywhere. And when I gently pointed out that it was pretty amazing that she had the confidence to stand up in front of her whole school, I got to see a perplexed look that told me she couldn’t imagine why someone wouldn’t be able to stand in front of hundreds of kids and all her teachers and talk about how great she is.
Of course, I’m her mom, and she’s one of the two brightest lights of my life, so I think she did win. And I think she really won the most after she lost the election, but she is only ten and not quite deep enough to understand that. And part of the reason I’m writing all this down is that so one day, when she’s older and deeper and suffers a (relatively) crushing disappointment, I can remind her that she is capable of handling almost anything with grace and confidence and kindness. And I realized that, as a grownup who occasionally suffers some disappointment or sadness, I could take a page from her book.
And Caroline’s takeaway?
She woke up this morning and, in a purely nonpartisan comment, announced, "I sure do know how that Mitt Romney feels. Someone better take him out for ice cream."