The hard truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want, or what we think we deserve. This weekend my daughter had a horse show at the Horse Park of New Jersey, competing against a number of therapeutic riding facilities.
In truth, Cameron is a horse show mentor for me in many ways. She puts a lot of focus and hard work into bettering her riding, and her confidence is astounding. More, she has very little show nerves.
So when we woke up the morning of Cameron’s 9th birthday and she readied for her competition, I thought- wow, she’s amazing. This thought continued on through the day as we made our way to the horse park, signed in with her trainer, and said hello to the horses. We brought friends with us to watch, because after all it was Cameron’s birthday and they wanted to cheer her on.
She did amazing. Cameron advanced a level from the previous horse show and was the youngest competitor among 5 riders. Her posting trot, something that was difficult only 6 months before, was en pointe. She nailed the diagonal each direction. More, she made circles off lead and trotted off lead in a ring where only a few months before I photographed CCI 2* and 3* riders at Jersey Fresh International.
This was by far the biggest crowd she had competed in front of, and she was cool under pressure. Bravo!
Here’s the rub. Cameron is now used to winning blue ribbons at her small barn shows. She is extremely confident and this shows in her riding. Still, I’ve tried to instill in her that we can’t always win first place. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s a delicate balance because I want her to be confident as a young woman, regardless of her Cerebral Palsy. But I don’t want her to be a bad sport or *gasp* obnoxious.I’ve tried to instill in her that we can’t always win first place. Life doesn’t work like that. Click To Tweet
Out of 5 riders, she placed 4th. Her trainer, leader, and all her friends and family were extremely proud. She did an amazing job! But her disappointment was written all over her face. She felt she deserved the 1st place ribbon, and was not thrilled with placing 4th. Cameron didn’t cry or throw a tantrum, but she did shut down.
In truth, I was disappointed in her. I had to step back and realize, she’s only 9. This is all part of learning that life doesn’t always work out the way you hope or think it will. This is preparation for the disappointments she will undoubtedly experience throughout her life. Yes, as her mother I want to shelter her. But I have to accept and acknowledge her feelings and help her move past this.
Confession time: this year I have been up for a few awards for my blog, my writing, and my first book (<- affiliate link) is a literary selection for the 2017 Equus Film Festival. I am extremely proud of all that I’ve accomplished this last year. Still there is always a sliver of hope that my hard work with be recognized by others even if I genuinely don’t have expectations of winning.
I didn’t win some of these awards and others are still being considered. Hopes and expectations are two very different things. After the initial disappointment it makes me try harder for next time. I have to ask myself, “what can I do better?”After the initial disappointment, it makes me try harder for next time. Click To Tweet
The bottom line is there will always be disappointments. Seeing my daughter experience this makes me sad. However, I do believe you have to learn how to lose gracefully and how to have good sportsmanship. In the end, I’m proud she bounced back quickly and this didn’t color her entire day. But it’s a good reminder that there is always a lesson to be learned in everything you do.
What lesson have you learned recently?