I Win At Losing

When my kids started grade school, they suddenly both got really competitive. Everything was turned into a contest between the two of them. Who could run faster, who could climb trees higher and who could hide the most vegetables from their dinner plates without getting busted by mom.

It wasn't long before their competitive streaks branched out in a different direction and suddenly my affection was the prize.

"Mom, who do you love the most?"

Answering that question is like choosing which breast you prefer. The right one or the left one? They both have their merits. The left one is slightly bigger but tends to have more whiskers sprouting up, while the right one is perkier but has an odd shaped mole on it. How does one choose?

For years I've successfully avoided scarring my children's psyches and have convinced them each I love all my children the best. And maybe my dog the most.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end and it looks like my long line of obfuscation and avoidance techniques slammed to a sudden end when I learned both Fric and Frac and their respective basketball teams made it to the regional play off games.

Scheduled on the same day, at the same time in two separate schools with about 35 km of rural farm fields between the two of them.


Suddenly my children weren't just worried about winning an important basketball game; they were equally as concerned with which child's game I was going to watch. Because as shocking as this may seem, I still haven't learned the fine art of being in two different places at the same time.

According to them and the informal competition they seemed to have created, my arse sitting in a gym means I totally love one child over the other.

Which, when I heard them talking about this, was totally and absolutely the truth. I loved Jumby the best right then at that very moment because he was the only kid under my roof not causing my blood pressure to rise. (He saved that for a few nights ago when he decided to yank out his adult tooth.)

I've yet to miss a game or competition that any of my children participate. I'm that mom.  Jumby and I are the unofficial team mascots, always on the sidelines and cheering for all the kids. Mostly because I have no life but also because I think it's important for me to witness my kids triumphs and failures as they run through their childhood.

My household, this past week has been rife with the scent of competitive puberty laced hormones, with both Fric and Frac trying to win me over to their team's side and abandon their siblings team. I may have even pitted one another against each other a time or two by announcing that the child who cleans their room the best will be the victor.

I'm not above using whatever ammunition I have as a parent to get them to pick up their smelly laundry and mold apple cores stuffed under their beds.

I wasn't completely sure which child's game I was going to watch and I was stressing over it, worried that I'd be inflicting some great emotional damage to the child who didn't have a parent cheering them on from the stands when my husband solved all our problems by coming home Monday night unannounced.

Two parents, two kids, two games, everyone will win, right?

Ya, you'd think.

With my husband stretched out on the couch, cuddling with his newly toothless son, I called Fric and Frac into the living room to settle the great game debate once and for all.

"All right Fric, Frac, here's the deal. Dad will go to one game, and I'll go to the other and you will both play your best and have fun, right?"

Both kids nodded and smiled, giddy on the fumes of their father's aftershave they so seldom get to smell.

"The question is, which parent goes to which game. So, it's up to you two. Who do you want to watch your game. Me or Dad?"

At which point, with out even taking a nanosecond to think about it, they both cried out "DAD! I WANT DAD!"

Boo wisely tried to contain his chuckles while shielding himself from the rays of my death glare by holding Jumby closer.

It was like the air was sucked out of my lungs. I could hear my ego fracturing into a million pieces and my well constructed image of motherhood shattering at my feet.

"What? What do you mean Dad? I'm the one who gets up in the middle of the morning every day to drive you to your practices! I'm the one who picks you up after school from practice. I'm the one who drives all over the province to watch each of your games. It's me who sits on the bleachers for every game and buys you sports drinks and cheers you on and flies my freak flag for every darn game! I'm the one who feeds you every day! I'm the one who carried you in my womb for almost ten months and then squeezed you out of my lady parts to give you life!! And you choose DAD???" At this point my voice may have gotten a tad screechy.

By now Boo was flat out laughing on the couch, his ego making him impervious to the arrows of hatred I was lobbing at his head.

"No offense Mom, but Dad only gets to see us play some of the time. And this is a playoff game. It's special," Fric said as her brother nodded his head.


The playing field has suddenly reversed. Where suddenly I was once a hot commodity, now nobody wants me. I'm the back up plan, the loser's choice. I'm the chump. Talk about a fall from grace.

Suddenly I have this burning desire to ask my kids, "So, who do you love more? Me or Dad?"

Only I'm fairly certain, given my children's reactions to their father being home that I wouldn't like their answer.