hurts. I know that. We all know that. We all forget it when things seem to be going along all right.
Yesterday I had an appalling reminder of how much being rejected can hurt. A mother phoned me and said,
"Cat, I know it's Good Friday and I shouldn't be interrupting but I'm desperate. S....has finally told me what happened."
S.... is her just teenage daughter. She's a lovely, lovely kid who started high school this year. She also happens to have a disability.
And things are not going well at school. She's had a fair bit of time off because of her disability. At primary school she was keeping up, indeed doing very well. Her teacher there kept in close touch. She worked hard at home.
At high school she has a variety of teachers, some more interested than others. Her form room teacher is one of the less interested, indeed has made it clear she doesn't really want S... in the class. There is a similar problem with another student M.
There was a school fete towards the end of the term. Each year had their own stall and the students were encouraged to make things to put on it. S... and M... made cards and gift tags over several weekends. It was a joint effort and they put a lot of work into it.
S.... did not want to go to the fete. Her parents were concerned because, if well enough, she usually wants to join in.
Yesterday her mother found the cards and the gift tags. S.... had put them, still wrapped up, in the bin. On being questioned S.... finally admitted that yes she and M.... had taken them to school. They had given them to the teacher - and the teacher had said they were not good enough to go on the stall. S.... is, rightly, devastated.
She was still in tears when I arrived. She has been bottling this up for several weeks now. She was feeling ashamed and frightened.
M...'s father arrived as I did and unloaded M... so the girls could be together. M... was in tears too. They had said nothing to their parents because they did not want to upset them.
Now if the cards and tags had not been good enough there might have been another way of handling it but that was not an issue anyway. They are not perfect but they are good enough.
I have the cards and tags here now. I am going to take them to a group today. I won't insult the girls by trying to sell them. I have told them I will give them to people who will appreciate the work that has gone into them.
And I am angry and upset too - because I know how hard it was for them to make those things. They know I know.
I told Ms W what had happened. She goes to a different school and said, "If it happened in our school - but it wouldn't - all the girls would be angry."
And then, a few minutes later, she said, "Do you suppose that S... and M... would like to do some origami? I could show them. They could help with the finger puppets."
She has met the girls so I suggested contacting them and asking them herself.
That will do more good than I can.