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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hi Ho! Cherry-O.... compete much? What a loser.

"playing games"
I am not much of a "player." Not because I don't like playing. But, because I don't like to lose. Friends have heard me often say: "I only play games I can win." Nice, huh?
"Hi ho cherry -o? " while mostly luck- I feel like I have a shot. Euchre? Not so much. I don't get it- can't play-it. Don't want to try. Scrabble? Yes. Boggle? Absolutely. Risk? Not a chance. Chess? Depends on who I'm playing.
I like to win. I like to compete, as long as I'm pretty sure I at least, have a chance to win. (This is totally contrary to my experience in Cross-country as a teen... I loved it- but was the loser of losers;) You can read about that- HERE.
When it comes to playing games with kids- winning (or losing) isn't the point. It's not even really "how you play the game" it's playing, together, that counts. Thursday night was a good reminder of that for me.
The other day- I was playing "hi-ho cherry-o," for the third straight game... and I started to wish I'd actually win. Yes- against a five year old. My five year old. I wanted to kick his little cutey-booty.
For the record- he was talkin' quite a bit of trash.

"I am the cherry-o master!" and "In your face! Take that!" , "Bring it on, Momma!", "Uh huh... I'm the man" He was taunting me. Worse yet- he was beating me. Mostly- without cheating.
I started to lose focus on just enjoying playing together- I started to TRY to win. (Yeah- at hi-ho cherry o---- try coming up with a strategy for that one- without cheating!) I started talkin' trash. "Bring it! Little guy!" "I'm the momma!"
It was not exactly, one of my finer parenting moments. Competing in a caged death match game of Hi-Ho Cherry-O, rarely shows up n the top ten list of best advice for parenting. It amazes me how quickly I lose focus, and what starts out as a "good mommy moment" degrades into future fuel for my kids' therapy sessions. ("My mom used to talk trash and beat me at hi-ho cherry-o, do you think that's why I'm such a loser today?" I can see the therapist's notes
already.....saving for college? yeah- but I have separate accounts for their therapy- too!;) )
After the carnage was cleared. (I lost- fairly and soundly.) I retreated to my corner of the couch to lick my wounds. Noah climbed up into my lap. He put his arm around my shoulder, and said "I love you Mom, even if you're a loser." My eyes welled up with tears.
I thought I felt Jesus put his hand on my other shoulder- and say "Me too."
I make loads of mistakes as a parent. I say stupid things, I do stupid things. Trash talk. Yell. Things I know better than doing. The bottom line? I love my kids-and I communicate it to them, in all kinds of ways. (yes- even playin games- I don't like, or can't win) They love me, too.
And- no matter how much I mess up- so does Jesus.
I told Noah I was sorry for talkin trash. He patted my back. "I like you, Mom"
"I like you too, Noah"
"Dear Jesus- please help me to keep focus on the things I do- help me to remember how short my time is with my kids, and to savor the moments I have with them. God- change me- make me more like you- create a new heart in me- one that is full of your love- a perfect love without competition- full of grace. I love you Lord- amen!"

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