My dad never lets me win
My dad never let me win
I was one of three girls, the middle child. I hear you all going, “ah..middle child”. But what I am about to share is a thought that has been bugging me the past few weeks. .. My Dad had never let me win.
I have great childhood memories, don’t get me wrong. I remember playing card games like Rummy as a family. My Dad would almost always win, and if he didn’t he cheated in order to win. When wrestling with him I was consistently aware that he was the stronger party involved. When washing the car together, he would always find a spot that I missed and when I got 80% for a test, he would ask me where the other 20% went.
He may seem selfish at first thought, even a little hard or insensitive.
Nowadays, when I see him play with his grandchildren, I realize the importance of this characteristic. My dad, now my kids’ Grandfather, still plays the same games. When racing him, he will only win with about a meter, making the kids believe that the goal is within reach. Eventually, the kids would win, since their energy lasts forever and he would grow tired – the same that happened when we raced. He will cheat a little, count cards a little, and then, since Rummy is a game of luck, only looses when the luck is really not on his side. Oh, and he loved rubbing the win in our faces- no one enjoyed winning more than him. I remember the frustration it brought with and the motivation I found during these games. I just had to win- it looked like so much fun. If I tried again, and again, I could win. And so I did... until he won again.
Having studied BSC with psychology and having a lot of friends in the field of child development and occupational therapy, there was one theory that always bothered me. According to their research, one should not only praise successes but also the “hard work” or the efforts. My problem with that was, if you say something like ”Wow, you are working so hard” or “Hey, I can see you are really trying hard”- that you couple the word “hard” with the effort. I never thought it was going to be HARD work to win against my dad. I thought it was going to take some strategic thinking, some training, some endurance but most of all, some TRYING, a little more polish, and sometimes, just luck to win. It was within my reach. And so I won, with many things. But he never let me win.
I always knew he loved me, and I knew he was only joking about the other 20% as he would tell me he was proud of me after teasing a little, he made it known that in life you will encounter cheats and helped me to deal with it. He taught me how to do a job well, not only how to work hard, but also how to enjoy work, without noticing you are working “hard”. He told me and showed me he was proud of me more than enough and he loved me endlessly. He taught me how to celebrate victories, learn and move on from losses. He inspired me when I was in tears and gave me a fresh perspective on life. He grew up without a father since age 3 due to cancer, and yet he was the best father I could ever imagine, and perhaps, he did let me win, sometimes.
Today I want to salute my dad, for helping me find myself, improve myself, deal with challenges and cheats. For playing with us and making us part of his weekly chores. For complimenting me enough and guiding my emotional reactions to the extent that it uplifts me and those around me. I salute him for helping me realize how to know I have done my best, despite the other 20%, knowing how to stand up for myself and for what is right or wrong, how to enjoy the little things like taking care of my car, well. For holding me a little bit longer as I walked down the isle and for loving my kids like they are his own. And most importantly, I want to thank him for teaching me how to enjoy life never having to work “hard “ one day!
I love you, Dad!
(Mom's post is coming soon!)