The Land of Participation Ribbons
Our kids live in a world where participation ribbons are passed out for showing up to the game and medals are given out to 20th place. Not that I usually complain about this because who doesn’t want to see the look of happiness on their kid’s face when they get a medal? As the kid who always got picked last in gym class, I would’ve loved any medal even one for 15th place. But at times I wonder what happens when the perfect kid bubble bursts and these kids grow up. You don’t get a participation ribbon for showing up to work.
The one good thing about my book getting rejected from the first few publishers is that my daughter saw me fail. I’m sure you think I’m crazy because who in their right mind wants their kid to see them fail? We all want our kids to think we’re perfect for as long as we can keep up that façade right?
I got my first rejection email when I was at my daughter’s swim practice. I held the tears in till we got in the car.
“They’re crazy for rejecting you,” said Molly. She rubbed my arm as I drove and assured me that the editor was a moron because I had written the best book ever.
I had failed epically in front of my daughter, but she still believed in me and drew me beautiful cards touting me as the best writer in the world. When the next rejection came, I kept it to myself. I didn’t tell Molly until all five of the big five took a pass. I was so ashamed to let my kid down.
I had a choice. I could wallow in self-pity or I could figure out what to do to make my manuscript more sellable. So, yes my daughter saw me cry. She heard me carry on and on about how I was never going to sell this book. But, then she saw me sit down at the laptop and revise over and over again. She saw me getting ready to workshop the manuscript at my writing class. She saw me with my list highlighting the areas that I needed to work on.
My daughter saw me fail. More than once. But she also saw me pick myself up and try again and again.
We may live in a world where all the kids get participation ribbons and the whole class gets invited to birthday parties; but we also live in a world where college graduates are unemployed. My daughter needed to see that she might not get into her dream school FIT one day, or she might have trouble selling her first line of clothes. She might have trouble getting a job after graduation. But it’s okay to fail as long as you pick yourself back up again and fight to get what you want. Because anything in life that you are truly passionate about is worth fighting for.
So when I finally sold that manuscript, Molly knew that this was no participation ribbon. This was my gold medal that I fought tooth and nail for. One day she will fight for her own gold medal and not be satisfied with just a participation ribbon.
About the Author
Eileen Palma has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has studied Advanced Novel Writing at Sarah Lawrence College’s The Writing Institute. Her writing has appeared in The Momoir Project, Macaroni Kid Bronxville, Patricia Dunn's author blog, Blogging in the Big Apple, PTO Today and on the front page of Our Town.
Eileen lives in a New York city suburb with her husband, daughter and a scrappy Wire Haired Fox Terrier.
Check out here new novel, Worth the Weight!
Author: Eileen Palma
Publication: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Diversion Books
How much weight is too much for one romance to bear?
When Kate Richards, the effervescent host of television's KidFit and the author of kid-friendly diet cookbooks, runs into Jack Moskowitz at a dog park, sparks fly. He's attractive, charming, and single. She has no idea that he's also the one man who could cost Kate her career--the CEO of Considerable Carriages, a company that profits from childhood obesity.
Jack knows exactly who Kate is, though. She tore his company apart on television only the day before! Seeing an opportunity, Jack starts digging up dirt on his nemesis, to put her crusade on ice once and for all. But the more time the two spend together, the more his lie—and his feelings for Kate—spiral out of control.
When Jack and Kate try to tip the scales of romance it brings chaos, heartbreak and hilarity and more than a few laps around love’s track.