I know that someday you'll find better things.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sometimes You Win...

Yesterday's spelling bee did not go as hoped. An uncharacteristically-glum Mia shared that she was the first kid out, on her very first word.

The word? Pottery.
"They said I spelled it with two O's," she sighed. "I didn't even hear myself do that."

"So... pootery?" I couldn't resist asking.
"Yup," she said, and we both giggled.

"The first one out." She repeated. "The first one."

"Well, I suppose somebody had to be first," I reminded her. "Actually, I'm kind of glad it was you."

A look of accusation and mild horror crossed her face, so quickly I explained my reasoning.

All but one of the kids would experience being "out" eventually, and someone would be "first".

The spelling bee isn't exactly at the top of our list of goals and priorities, but I'm sure it mattered deeply to several of those other kids in the room.

Our town is something of a training-ground for hard-core spellers. Those who are committed to competition spend HOURS practicing for WEEKS and MONTHS before the big day. Long ago, we'd made a choice to focus on other things, such as eating dinner, reading together before bed, and of course, watching Gilmore Girls.

We both knew she could properly spell 'pottery' and most of the other words on that list. Being the first one out didn't change her ability to spell or my pride toward her effort. I knew that despite her disappointment and embarrassment in the moment, she'd accepted the outcome graciously and respectfully, setting a good example to all the future mis-spellers in the room. I knew she had the resilience to manage her emotions and overcome her feelings in a healthy way. I knew this wouldn't devastate her.

"But I am devastated," she persisted.
"Oh yeah? POOTERY!" I replied.

Once again, she dissolved into a fit of giggles.
"You're right, I'm over it," she announced.

And to prove she meant it, she was her usual hyper, cheerful self for the rest of the evening.

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