I Have Some Sad News.
Months ago, Shane asked quietly, “How do you ask a girl out?”
Shane is 10. He explained that a school dance was coming up in May, and he wanted to ask his friend – who we’ll call Cindy – to go with him.
“If she’s your friend,” I said, “you can just ask her anytime, like part of the conversation.”
He thought about it for weeks, finally got up his nerve, and asked Cindy to the dance (which was three months away). She said she would be happy to go to the dance with him.
With the dance now looming and three months passed, nothing had changed – until one day at school when Jake, too, asked Cindy to the dance.
Shane had tears in his eyes when he told me, “I have some sad news.”
Cindy decided to go to the dance with Jake – leaving Shane in the cold.
Shane had no idea what to do, or how to handle a form of rejection that was delivered with care and kindness – from someone he still considers to be one of his best friends.
The adults who have heard this story are furious with Cindy – but Shane isn’t. As hurt as he is, and as much as this has likely ruined his ability to ask out girls for the rest of his life, he doesn’t see that Cindy did anything wrong.
“She’s still one of my best friends,” Shane said.
Cindy is also one of Shane’s seven (of eight total) friends chosen as a patrol – so let’s just add this to the Shane rejection pile, along with the GT program that refused him entry and the host of friends chosen as patrols without him.
There is only so much rejection a person can take.
Shane seems to be handling it quite well. He hasn’t crawled into a hole, or changed his activities, or sobbed about any of it. In fact, I’m a little worried about where his sadness goes. He doesn’t seem to be internalizing it – or maybe he is but I can’t tell. Shane has never been particularly vivacious.
I’m not sure I can handle any more rejection for him, though. The GT program – okay. The patrols – okay. But a trusted friend stabbing a knife through his heart? NOT okay.
So, like always, I sit and watch it happen – and wish I could do something to help. And, like always, there is absolutely not one single thing that I can do. It is the heartbreak of motherhood – loving him so much that his pain is my pain.
But his joy will also be my joy. Someday.