“Andi, this just doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t have any depth. It’s boring.”
I think that’s what she said, the editor who had accepted my query about an article on international adoption, when she flat-out rejected a piece I had put months of my life into.
Her rejection of my words, my work, me. . . yep, there it was, she was rejecting me. And her rejection – justified, reasonable, true because the piece really was vapid – was just a tiny ripple that came before the big one.
My husband and I had been married for almost 3 years, and I was ready. Ready for that baby, that bundle of Guatemalan joy – the son we would name Diego.
We talked, we found an agency, we chose our country, we chose a name.
I even bought the hardware for a crib set that my father would build. Mom and I picked out fabric for the layette she’d make for his room.
Then, my husband left.
I wish I had been able to see in my own desperate article the way I was bracing against what I must have known – somewhere – was coming. But I didn’t see it . . . in the article or in my marriage.
And when rejection came – a ripple and then a tidal wave – my feet were washed out from under me, and I lay crying in a puddle on the floor.
5 years later, I am in Breckenridge, Colorado with one of my dearest friends. My mother has died a few months earlier, and my friend has invited me to take some respite with them for a while.
We are walking to an outlet mall, and she asks how I am after the divorce. I tell her that I’m finally beginning to feel like myself. She says – with her years of work as a counselor tied tight to her heart – “5 years. It takes most people 5 years to get over a loss like you experienced.”
Later that weekend, I sit in a lovely restaurant in that gorgeous resort town and cry over the fact that I may never have children.
2014. I am in a farmhouse with a cuddly dog asleep on the sofa and three cats snuggled against the hot water heater. Outside, two puppies, four goat kids, two kittens, 14 chickens, and two guineas are roaming this place of my dreams – the one my first husband did not take very seriously – in the dream or me.
My husband now – a dream himself – is on his way to work 50 miles away, a commute he takes on without complaint because it builds the life we share in this place completely.
We do not have children . . . not yet, but we both want them. Deeply. And they will come, we pray, when the time is right.
Because that is the story of rejection. It is often a story of timing, and of accepting the “not yet” even when it comes with the tidal-wave force, even when it leaves us puddled on the ground.
I know – now, 9 years later – that the “YES” of now can pick me up and carry me on with promise and more life than I ever imagined when Mom and I picked out that nursery fabric. Then, it felt forced, pushed, like that adoption article.
Now, the journey feels steady, unresisted, because now – with this man, the love of my life – is the time.
And Dad still has that crib hardware.
Andi is hosting a Writers’ Retreat at her farm in southern Virginia from July 18-20. If you love to write, you should consider attending. I will also be doing a reading there on July 19th, the Saturday night of the retreat, so if you can’t make it for the entire weekend but would like to come to the reading I believe that is also a possibility.
You can also check out some of the prior #OvercomeRejection posts here:
“The Least Successful Realtor” by Noah Martin
“This Is How I Deal With Rejection” by Kelly Chripczuk
“It Wasn’t My Writing Being Rejected – It Was Me” by Amy Young
“Permission To Try Again” by Lisa Betz
“Don’t Feed the Bear” by Sarah Gingrich