It was a good weekend. By certain standards, even great. In our sporty world, it’s possible to look at it quantitatively. After a soccer victory on Saturday, Bun Bun joined the rest of the family for a mandatory 5K at the husband’s place of work Sunday morning. Running Miles for Melanoma through the Universal Studios backlot was a no-brainer. Skin cancer is a distinct possibility in a family with Celtic roots.
The gun sounded and the two youngest took off with Dad. Up the last hill at the “Desperate Housewives” cul-de-sac, I noticed Miss T pushing it, with Bun Bun charging ahead. She crossed the finish line in 22 minutes, Miss T in 23, the husband beaming with pride. When Bun Bun and I hustled to the car shortly after for a soccer game in Riverside, I told her she’d likely find great success in track and field if she chose to pursue it. Her response, “I’m too competitive. In soccer, if you lose, you lose as a team. With running, and it’s just me, I’d be so mad if I lost. I’d want to win every race.”
We arrived for kick-off after a speedy one-hour drive spent avoiding the Highway Patrol. The husband texted from Universal to inform us that Bun Bun had placed third overall among the women, Miss T first in the 14 and under division. (Running is not Goldie’s thing. She walks. Her other talents are many.) Ten minutes later, Bun Bun scored a goal off a corner kick, the team won in a shutout for the second time in as many days, and like so many weekends previous, her win column was full.
I enjoyed nearly every minute of the weekend and barely complained that I couldn’t get through more than two sections of the New York Times by Sunday evening, but something was nagging me. The idea that we learn more from failure than success kept playing in my mind. Also, while I’m enormously entertained by my children’s activities and prouder than proud of their accomplishments, it’s important to me that they feel loved not because of what they do, but rather who they are.
It’s not for me to play devil’s advocate, nor prepare them for failure by suggesting they aren’t as good as they think they are. My job is to be there when they fall and convince them, in the least obnoxious way possible, that the true test of character is how we behave in adversity and defeat. Better yet, I’ll let Michael Jordan do the work:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Life, Monday motherhood, Parenting