Bouncing Back

Matthew knew exactly what he wanted to buy with his vacation souvenir money. He’s 7-years-old, looks somewhat similar to the little boy in Jerry Maguire, and loves baseball. One of his friends has a baseball with pictures of most of the presidents and reproductions of their signatures on it that his friend’s mom got for him in Washington, DC.

I know what he was thinking.

That’s a cool baseball. It came from Washington, DC. We’re going to Washington, DC. I’m getting one of those baseballs.

He told us his plan of using some of his money on a “baseball with presidents on it.” We re-inforced this goal with cautious optimism–if he could find one he could buy one. Mathew isn’t big on cautious optimism; he was determined to find one of those baseballs.

He didn’t have to wait long.

We went to Monticello on our first day of vacation. The gift shop was our last stop before leaving and I was browsing around as the kids tried to find some treasures. That is when I heard a loud YEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!

It was Matthew. He had found a whole box full of presidential baseballs.

After happily handing over $9, he clutched his prized ball tightly to his chest and kept it there all the way to the cabin only unclutching it to look at the pictures. His favorite president to talk about as we travelled was Abraham Lincoln. I’m pretty sure that he slept with the ball under his pillow that night.

He was still holding on to the ball as we headed to Washington, DC the next day. We told him that he would have to leave the ball in the car when we parked to catch the Metro. He was fine with that.

Until we reached the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

As we looked up the steps into the memorial, Matthew turned to my wife.

“Mommy, is that Abraham Lincoln?”


“AWWWWWW! I should have brought my baseball so I could get him to sign it!”

And then his head slumped to his chest.

It was hard not to laugh, but Kristy and I managed to keep a straight face as we explained to him that Lincoln was dead and that the memorial held a statue of him. That seemed to disappoint him even more. 

I hate to see my kids disappointed. It breaks my heart. But sometimes I can’t do anything about it. Sometimes they have to learn lessons the hard way. Sometimes they have to face disappointment.

And that’s okay.

Learning to deal with disappointments the right way is important because they will face plenty of them in the future. Whether I like it or not; no matter how much it breaks my heart.

His disappointment didn’t last long this time. A couple of minutes later he was climbing the steps with the rest of the kids with a smile on his face.

He loved the Lincoln Memorial. He bounced back.

I pray that he’ll be able to do the same thing when the disappointments grow larger.

How do you handle disappointments?

My kids with Lincoln (Noelle had just eaten red Italian Ice)

32 thoughts on “Bouncing Back

  1. I analyze, pray, think some more, and then talk about it. Sometimes I have to let go of my dissapointment because it’s unrealistic. I expected something that was unrealistic for them to do.

  2. I write. I pray. I text my friends. I have a passion for finding the hidden treasures in life, so I really try to look at what will come out of this disappointment. I can usually find something.

    Your kids are so cute. And you are so right about your son and the Jerry MaGuire kid. Holy! He is cute!

  3. I have to pray. I internalize disappointments so much that I need to be reminded that it’s not about me.

    Thanks for sharing this story, Matt.

  4. Abe Lincoln might not be alive, but how epically sweet would it be if the statue of him did sign your son’s baseball?
    I think I might need to lay off the crazy movies!

  5. So right, Matt. We have to learn and help our kids deal with disappointment the right way. I guess the big problem is when we as parents haven’t learned to deal with it properly. Great thoughts, man.

  6. Not as well as I would like to. But I’m on a journey and I’m learning. Someday I’ll be able to handle all of them with resignation and grace – instead of questioning, frustration and sadness.

  7. I don’t handle disappointments very easy. Often times it turns into anger. I have learned to just let it “be”. I found a better way to handle them. I kick pigeons! (not really)

  8. I know this is going to sound bad but I’ve had so many of them over the last few years that I tend to just take them with a “here we go again” kind of attitude. Not surprised it happened and half expecting it to be there. I know that’s not the mindset I’m supposed to have but when you’ve gone through the stuff we’ve gone through a survivor mindset sets in.

  9. How cute and sweet! That sounds like a fun trip.

    I don’t know how I handle disappointment, that’s a very good question. Probably not well. But now that you’ve asked, I’ll be paying attention as to how I react the next time I face disappointment and try to keep a bright attitude. Thanks!

  10. My first reaction, sometimes, is to throw a bit of a temper tantrum inside my head. I can let something eat away at me all too easily if I don’t choose to look for the higher perspective.

    Your daughter and my daughter share the same name 🙂

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