Growing Together: Let It Be from The Fierce Diva Guide to life


I’m so pleased today to welcome Ilene to the Growing Together series. Ilene blogs with admirable honesty and incredible beauty at The Fierce Diva Guide to Life. Her recent post, 15 Things I Have Learned about the Impossible inspired me to think differently about strength and perseverance (and almost inspired me to consider running a marathon!).

Her story here is a beautiful one of growth and helping our littles through tough times. It is so beautifully worded and portrays her and her daughter’s incredible strength.

So please, read on, and then go visit Ilene at her place.


She stared out the window as we drive down the Osceola Highway in our rented Corolla. The sun, which had broken through the clouds on what had begun as a gray, overcast day, felt oppressive.

“Do you want to go to Disney?” I ask over the robotic female voice of the GPS.

“No,” she answers in a tiny voice from the back seat.

“Do you want something to eat?”

“No, I want to go back to the hotel,” she responded, followed by a silence that felt unfamiliar from my oldest daughter, the one who was never at a loss for words.

I had no prior experience managing this level of disappointment with my children.  We had weathered mean girls, difficult teachers, and countless sibling battles. Yet, on this day I was witnessing something different. It was defeat, acute and painful. There was a finality to it.

We had just left Silver Spur Arena where Miss F. performed in the national competition with her cheer squad. The build-up to nationals had been immense.  They wanted to win.  They were expected to win, but they didn’t.  When their pyramid did not connect properly during the final seconds of the routine, they quickly transitioned from contenders to “non-winnners,” the season over, no second chances.

I had been skeptical of cheer since the beginning. I never understood, or approved, for that matter, of the “cheer culture,” girls as young as eight, in glitter eye shadow and skimpy shirts, throwing each other around for a panel of judges.  I didn’t get the oversized hair bows or the competition music mixes with baritone voice overs and sounds of cymbals laid out over snippets of songs, many of which were too sexually provocative for the third graders who danced to them.

However, my skepticism was irrelevant.  This was certainly not the moment for “I told you so.” This was the moment that I needed to help her get through her first major life disappointment.

I racked my brain for ways to make her feel better, for things that would cheer her up, a late lunch from the McDonald’s Drive Thru, a dip in the pool, a chocolate milkshake, a souvenir from the discounted gift store across the highway from our hotel.

That’s our instinct, right? To jump at the slightest hurt of our children and try to make it go away.  We hover, we protect, we volunteer to take the bullet, all to prevent them from feeling a negative emotion.

Except disappointments happen.  They are part of life.  And they hurt. That’s the way it works.   As a runner, I know that you can train your heart out for an event and bomb on race day.  But I’ve learned from those experiences, and I’ve been able to walk away with the satisfaction of working hard at something that I love to do, even if the outcome did not go as planned.

I wanted to relay this to Miss F. that afternoon in the overheated Corolla, yet I could tell from her silence that the message wouldn’t translate, at least not at that moment.  The expectations were too high and the crash too big.  She was living in the tiny realm of an eight year old where losing at the cheer game equaled a piece of her world ending.

She wasn’t ready to hear the life lesson, and as I drove, I realized that it was not my job to rescue her from her pain.

It was my job to allow her to feel it.

I needed to let her be sad.

So that in time, she could let it go.

My heart ached, as I realized this would be the first “big disappointment” for Miss F. of many.  There would be break ups and college rejections and possibly the loss of her first “real job.”   There would be unexpected betrayals and goodbyes and poorly executed plans.  There would be misfires, misguided attempts, and downright failures.

A half hour went by as we both sat, motionless, in the car in outside of the hotel.  Miss F. in the back seat, and I in the front, silently viewing the highlight reel of her future, with all of its joys and letdowns.

“Mommy, I’m ready to go to the pool now,” she said, breaking the stillness.

“Okay, then, let’s go,” I said, as she gathered her things, tucking away her mylar pom-poms into a duffle with one firm, final zip, opening the door to a balmy Florida afternoon.

Ten minutes later, she was among the throng of laughing girls, splashing around the hotel pool, diving for pennies, and doing somersaults though water.  I sat on a deck chair and watched her, as she propelled her tiny body through the water lithely, immune to the current against her.

It was a beautiful day for a swim.



I’m Ilene, the creator of The Fierce Diva Gide To Life, as well as a yoga teacher, freelance writer, mother of 3, believer in possibilities, and highly flawed individual.

My blog is a place where I discuss my passions, which range from meditation, to my foster dogs, and my rather eclectic yoga playlist.  It’s a place where I rant about the evils of processed sugar, my insecurities as a mother, and the strife of navigating a New Jersey wholesale club store on a Saturday afternoon.   It is a place where I visit and revisit the topic of happiness again and again, because ultimately, it is what we are all seeking.

I love to talk, I love to learn, I would certainly love for us to get to know each other better.

You can find me at:


Twitter:  @fiercedivablog





  1. I am thrilled to be here today! Thank you for having me!
    Ilene recently posted..The PauseMy Profile

  2. Wonderful! What an inspiration she is! 🙂 Great post!
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Oh Yeah, We Did The Oprah Ugly CryMy Profile

  3. Oh, I am so a fixer! Our girls called me out on it on numerous occasions, but you hit the nail on the head. We need to allow them time to grieve, gather themselves, and then move on. A hard but really important lesson!
    Kim recently posted..Got encouragement?<br/>Time to give and receive: It&#8217;s a linkup!My Profile

  4. Hurray for her bounce-back-ability. She can be proud of making it to nationals. Few do.
    Jester Queen recently posted..How to Pass for a Holiday LoverMy Profile

  5. I used to try to jump in and put a bandaid on right away but I realized that Ash is more and more like me every single day. She appreciates the offer of the bandaid but needs time for herself to go through it. There is so much that we have to worry about for them but it is also comforting to know that our girls are growing strong in their hearts and will be able to face what is in front of them.
    This is a beautiful post for people who don’t know you yet to get to know you. It is your heart that has always stood out to me. Hope you and the kids have a wonderful holiday! xo
    Kristen recently posted..What I Want For ChristmasMy Profile

    • I think it’s great that Ash knows what she needs – and that you respect those boundaries. I think that when we don’t jump right away to be “fixers,” as Kim called it, our kids get to know what their “grieving style” is and even better when we can support them in that style. Thank you so very much for hopping over here today. Happy holidays! xo
      Ilene recently posted..Coming HomeMy Profile

  6. Ilene, I warms my heart to see you again!
    Michelle recently posted..What She Want’s for Christmas?My Profile

  7. Absolutely love this post! Such a wonderful lesson for parents and for people in general – sometimes we have to allow the pain to move through it. A timely message, for sure. Thank you!

  8. Good job, Mom. It’s so hard to see our kids feel disappointment, but we have to, don’t we?
    another jennifer recently posted..Sharing My Skillshare Class Blog PostsMy Profile

  9. {Melinda} Oh, I so understand this. We want so badly to shield our children from disappointments, but we can’t! Sniff. 🙁 It helps me to know that the hurts and disappointments they experience are what God uses to shape their character. It doesn’t make watching their broken hearts any easier, but it DOES help me to know that they will be used for their good. 🙂
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..opening our gifts? timing is everythingMy Profile

  10. Ilene – this is an incredibly beautiful post and so nice to hear your voice again. I totally understand the urge to make things better and make the hurt go away. We’re mothers and parents – that’s our instinct, to protect. But I’ve been realizing that it’s so important to let our kids discover their own strength in these moments. Often they surprise themselves (and me too).
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Stupid Yoga TricksMy Profile

    • I LOVED finding your comments here and over at TFDGTL. I have missed our daily chats- event if they are just parts of comment threads – I always appreciate your words! Yes yes. My kids surprise me and my little F. certainly did surprise me. She let it pass. xo
      Ilene recently posted..Coming HomeMy Profile

  11. This is a fabulous post, Ilene. You should enter it in the BlogHer Voices of the Year. Seriously.

    I love what you write here about not “rescuing” her, about letting her feel what she feels, and move through it. Isn’t that what our most supportive friends do when we grieve, too? And she does get through it … the first of many losses, and re-finding her footing.
    Justine recently posted..Tea for One: GingersoftsMy Profile

    • Justine – thank you for coming by – and yes, she DID get through it – on her own – without my rescuing her – our maternal instinct, – right? I hadn’t thought about entering it in BlogHer. I think I’m going to do that!
      Ilene recently posted..Coming HomeMy Profile

  12. Glad to hear she jumped back in.
    Stephanie recently posted..Daisy, our elf on the shelfMy Profile

  13. Yay, you! Yay, Miss F. And yay, me for being fortunate enough to read your beautiful words. I completely agree with this wise, unfathomably hard lesson to learn: “I realized that it was not my job to rescue her from her pain. It was my job to allow her to feel it.” Amen. You’re a wise mama, my friend! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us! xoxo
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Let’s Hug a Teacher TodayMy Profile

  14. Thanks, Mary! It was a dicey hour and a half but then it passed. It always does, right???
    Ilene recently posted..Coming HomeMy Profile

  15. Oh wow. Ilene, this is beautiful! That must have been hard to keep quiet and let her work through it. You’re a smart mommy.
    adrienne recently posted..More Heels, Less MilkMy Profile

  16. Thanks, Adrienne! It was a really good life lesson for me – a tough one but good!
    Ilene recently posted..Finding The FireMy Profile

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