Rejection // I fibbed to my daughter, but it was for her own good

As told to Raizy Zilberman

“Mommy, did the letter come today?” Leah asked me eagerly as she walked into the house after a full day of school.

“Not yet,” I replied, silently sending up a prayer to Hashem.

“Do you think it means anything that we haven’t received it yet?” Leah looked worried. “All my friends already received their acceptance letters.”

“Totally not,” I quickly reassured her. “It must be that the mail is slow.”

My daughter Leah had struggled throughout her elementary school years. By some miracle, eighth grade seemed to be her turning point. She had made a few good friends and was assigned a great job on the yearbook staff. It was amazing to watch my daughter blossom over the first half of the year. She had transformed from a timid, unhappy girl into a confident, joyful teen. While my friends complained that their daughters tied up the phone lines incessantly chatting with their friends, I was ecstatic that my daughter finally had the phone glued to her ear. Amidst all these positive developments, it was time to fill out high school applications.

Leah had her heart set on attending Bnos Sarah. Her closest friends were planning to go there, and she really wanted to be with them. The thought of starting all over again socially terrified her. I advised her that it would be prudent to apply to more than one school, so Leah applied to Beis Devorah as well. We felt that applying to a second school was a necessary hishtadlus, but Leah was determined to attend Bnos Sarah.

We received an acceptance letter from Beis Devorah. I was thrilled, but Leah was totally disinterested. “It’s not that it’s not a good school,” she explained. “But no one is going there, at least from my group of friends. I desperately want to go to Bnos Sarah.”

I put the letter aside and waited. When Leah’s friends called her to let her know they had received acceptances to Bnos Sarah, we eagerly awaited Leah’s letter, running to the front door each day as soon as we heard the mail drop through the slot. But the letter did not come.

When the long-awaited envelope from Bnos Sarah finally arrived, Leah was still in school so I quickly tore it open. My worst fear was confirmed; my daughter had been rejected by the high school of her dreams. I read the short letter and promptly burst into tears. I dialed my husband at work, but I was sobbing so loudly I couldn’t even squeeze out a hello.

“Who died?” he asked with concern.

“Leah was rejected,” I bawled.

“Is that all?” my husband asked, relieved.

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