Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Sons’

Mom Lessons and Taming the Beast

There are two kinds of people in this world.  The first kind of people are the ones who don’t notice they lost.  The second kind of people are the ones who are normal.

Scott likes to say that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to my competitive nature. It’s a well known fact that there is no such thing as a minor competition for Scott.  If it’s a contest, he means to win. I’ve been very outspoken over the years about Scott’s overzealous competitive streak.  I’ve even given him a few lively and convincing lectures on the subject.

It took Scott a while to figure out that I had a competitive streak of my own.  He’s figured it out now.  He’s really figured it out.  He figured out that all my lively lectures were always given after he just beat me at ping pong, or tennis.  I really HATE being beat. Especially by Scott.

Losing burns.

Scott and I have raised competitive children.  I’m not sure there was another possible outcome.

This weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about our family’s competitive nature.  Our boys and some of their teammates competed in a national wrestling tournament against top wrestlers from states all over the country this past Saturday.  There was some winning.  There was some losing.

The boys have spent a lot of time  improving their wrestling skills over the years.  I’ve improved my skills too.  I’ve improved my fan skills.  Good fan skills take practice.  Good fan skills require denying your primal instincts.  When my boys wrestle, I have learned to resist the urge to draw attention to myself with high pitch screams (mostly).  I don’t offer my boys nonsensical pointers like, “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”, “Squeeze!”, or (my personal favorite I heard from a mom sitting in her heavyweight high school son’s corner, while watching her son attempt to pin his opponent), “Come to Mamma!!!”  That one should get you kicked out of the gym.

I’ve learned to avoid these missteps. These missteps are  not easy to avoid when adrenaline is causing your blood to crash through your veins, into your limbs, tricking your primal brain into believing you need to help your baby cub in a fight for his life.

Wrestling has taught me  to master my frantic impulses; I’m becoming quite an impressive fake.

When my boys lost this weekend, I smiled.  I said nice things.  I talked about what we could learn, and how we can’t win them all. Then, I sat quietly,  listening to my pulse beat furiously in my ears, and running through a string of cuss words in my head, while telling myself I couldn’t possibly HATE anything as much as I hated wrestling.

THAT is the beast you don’t let out.

I think the reason I thought I wasn’t competitive all those years, is because even though my brain gets hijacked by the beast, I recover quickly.  I experience mental anguish after a loss, but the anguish is temporary.

At this weekend’s tournament, I was talking to another wrestler’s mom.  This was her son’s first big tournament.  He was excited to be a part of something so large.  He wanted to do his best.  He wasn’t expecting to win the tournament.  This boy’s mom was telling me what she and her husband were observing about her son’s experience with this tournament.

This boy’s mom said she loved watching her son decide on his own to compete at this tournament.  This tournament was not on any school calendar, and participation was voluntary.  She told me that she and her husband took delight in hearing their son pull out of the driveway in the morning while it was still dark. He wanted to get some training in, and meet with more experienced wrestlers in the wrestling room, so those wrestlers could teach him things he didn’t know.

This mom said she felt so grateful that her son was choosing goals for himself, developing a plan for how to reach his goals, and following through with his plan to get there.  This mom also told me she would never get tired of watching her son sit in his teammates’ corners, offering his help, and cheering for them.  This mom’s son went 0 – 2 at the tournament, and then he was done.  But, this mom asked me what more could she want for her son than all the maturity and personal development he was gaining through this experience.

I agreed.

As this mom was talking about her son’s experiences, she was starting to tear up; she was so moved.  I got choked up just listening to her.

After the fiery burn of our  sons’ losses died to a small flame, and then was extinguished completely, I started to think about our own lessons.

Like a lot of other young athletes, our boys have spent hours, days, weeks and years of their lives working towards their goals.  A part of almost every day of their lives is devoted to making them better wrestlers.  Their imaginations and private thoughts are consumed by dreams of what they plan to achieve.  They don’t have what they want yet, but trying to get there fills their lives with meaning.

Losing is part of getting there.

Our boys were disappointed after their losses.  By the following morning, the boys had more plans. They had fresh insight into what adjustments they could make, and an idea about how to make those adjustments.  They have places they want to go.

I’m so grateful that the boys have places they want to go.  I hope when they get there, they’ll think of NEW places they want to go.  Because, I think trying to figure out how to get where you want to go is providing my family with more engagement with a meaningful life than they realize.

But they’re not entirely satisfied. And, I think a little dissatisfaction is good.  I mean,  not the kind of dissatisfaction that deflates our spirit.  The kind of dissatisfaction that gets you up in the morning, making plans for how to be better than you were when you went to bed.

I can’t flip the off switch on our family’s competitive nature, any more than I can change the color of our eyes.  We have to identify our competitiveness, embrace it, tame it, and use it to become our best selves.  And, really, it’s so much fun.  Like my wrestling mom friend,  I don’t know what else I could ask for.

Zeke with dad

He’s 9 feet tall, Dad. Any ideas?

ed's wrestling stance

Wrestling stance.

team at pre season

TEAM!

Don’t Treat Your Daughter Like a Princess

I was watching one of those culturally profound reality shows the other day.  You know, the ones that enrich our understanding of today’s culture, and give us a more relevant perspective of the socioeconomic implications in today’s modern lifestyle.  Yeah.  That’s the only reason I watch those shows.  It’s more like research.  Because, I’m more like a scientist. And, more like a liar.

Anyway, there was one man on this show who was some kind of surgeon.  His wife was throwing a giant birthday bash for their little daughter.  I would guess the daughter was 7 or 8 years old.  All the little girls were dressed up as princesses.  So were their moms.  It’s true.  That happened.

If I had a nickel for every time my friends and I dressed up as princesses – just an excellent way to spend an evening.   One of the moms on the reality show even came to the party in a horse and carriage.   Definitely doing that at the next girls’ night out.  Too bad the moms were all screaming at each other by the end of the night.  I never saw that coming.

The Surgeon/Dad asked for the girls’ attention.  He wanted to make an important speech.  He said something to his young female audience about how his family wanted these girls to dress up like princesses on this special day so that the girls could remember that they deserved to be treated like princesses.  He told them they should ALWAYS remember that they DESERVED to be treated like princesses.  He said no matter how old they got,  they should expect to be treated Like. A. Princess.

Do you like that message?  I can see where a person might.  I didn’t.  I thought this Dad/Surgeon, and all the adults in that show could use some parenting help.  This Dad’s message made me think that adults like him are doing young girls wrong.

Have you hung out lately with any kids who feel entitled?  Yeah.  They’re not very fun.  Well, I guess they can be  fun, as long as they’re getting what they want, and everything is going their way.

Parenting 101:  How to make a bad person:   Tell them they deserve to be treated like royalty.

princess

I was talking to my sons about this show on our long drive to Colorado.  I could tell they didn’t totally understand why it bugged me so much.  So, I switched it up.  I said, “What if I told you boys that no matter what, you should be treated like a King.  You deserved to be treated like a King. You should find a spouse who will TREAT you like a King.”

Then they understood.  They laughed pretty hard.  The thought of what I had just described made them uncomfortable. I hope that if my boys marry some day, that they would expect their spouse to treat them a little less like a King; a little more like a friend.   I was relieved my sons could see the absurdity.

Why would I tell my children that they are superior to others?  Why would I tell them to dwell on their superiority?  Why would I tell them to find someone who will recognize their superiority, and treat them accordingly? Why would I set them up for failure like that?

My advice to my kids is to stop thinking about how people treat you.  Don’t focus on that.  Focus more on how you’re treating other people.  Treat others kindly, and with respect. You’ll see that people will usually return the favor.

Don’t even get me started on this word “deserve”.   I really hope my kids would say that the word “deserve” is rarely spoken in our home.  I feel like they would say that. I don’t like that word.  I can’t picture that word coming out of Scott’s mouth either, unless it was part of a joke.  Not even Royalty deserves to be treated like Royalty.

People who walk around thinking about what they “deserve” are people who spend less time being happy.  What do we really deserve anyway?   Do babies “deserve” to be born into poverty, and countries that are ravaged by war?  They don’t, but there they are.  We didn’t do anything to deserve our place and time in history either.  But, here we are.  Let’s always be grateful.  A grateful kid is a happy kid.

Did you hear that the famous singer Sting announced he won’t be passing his fortune on to his six kids?  You know why?  Because he loves his kids.  Sting wants his kids to find their own passion. He wants them to have to work hard to achieve their goals.  He wants all that, because he wants his children to have good and meaningful lives.  I bet he never once told his children that they are like royalty, and they deserved to be treated as such.  He’s too smart to say that.

So that’s my rant on that subject.  Sorry if I got a little carried away.  I’ll stop now.

Do you like Public Radio?  I do.  I was an intern for a Public Radio station in Iowa when I was in college.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I have always had this inner nerd thing happening in my life. I like my inner nerd. She makes me think.  It’s my inner nerd that truly loves Public Radio.  But, sometimes those Public Radio announcers are too nerdy even for me.

This morning the announcer was covering a book list.  I like their book lists. I try to write down as many of the titles as I can.  This morning’s discussion was between the announcer and the person who conducted the book review.

The announcer was asking the reviewer about the book.  The reviewer said, “This book is so good.  It is based on realism (big pause.  Wait for the punch line.  Wait for it. Wait… for…it).  Elastic realism.”

Then the announcer laughs so hard, he can hardly get control of himself.  The reviewer giggles too.  You get it, right?  Elastic realism?  That’s so flippin’ hilarious, my stomach still hurts from laughing.

No.  That is not funny.  That’s so unfunny. I think those people should be punished for laughing so hard at something so unfunny.    And that’s why sometimes  public radio is too nerdy even for me.

 

public radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Inspire

Did you read my blog on Tuesday? Well, you should have; I’m trying to help you change your life. I can’t do that, if you won’t listen.

Tuesday’s blog was super deep and motivating. I told you about my long walks with my dog. I said I might make a bumper sticker to commemorate my dog walking accomplishments. My sticker would be a stick figure walking her dog with “1.5” on it. You don’t have to tell ME how cool that sounds.

The nicest people read my blog; some old friends, a lot of new friends. They give me good ideas. One of my friends said my sticker should say, “It ain’t no jive. I walk 1.5.” You get it? Jive and one-point-five rhyme? I know. I know. You’re getting emotional. It’s okay. Feelings are good.

I’d like to thank my friend (thanks, Wendy) for that good idea. Her good idea gave me another good idea. I think I need to make a poster. I was thinking that Scott could hang this poster in the wrestling room. The wrestlers (my sons included – because boys L-O-V-E, I mean LOVE posters of their moms) could look at the poster when they just needed that extra push. When they are feeling like they have nothing left to give, when they don’t know where they’ll find the courage they need to bust through insurmountable obstacles in front of them, and when they are tempted to give in, they can look at this poster.

One look at this poster, and the wrestlers will remember. They’ll remember what I’ve accomplished, and be inspired to reach their own goals. It doesn’t matter that they’re aiming for a State Championship, and I’m aiming for two miles. They don’t need to feel badly about having a goal that’s less challenging. What matters is that they have one. What matters is that they never give up. Like me. I never give up.

It’s no JIVE. I go 1.5!

walking poster

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