The Village Idiot

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Last night we held a grand champion “Memory Tournament.” All 70 matches were employed (there are 72, but 2 were missing a partner) and everyone had their game face on.

I have to admit, it was nice being able to play no-holds-bar with the kids finally. For years, I’ve been throwing games and not giving our sessions my full, undivided focus. Hence, I’ve become known as “The Village Idiot.”

Oh, they never say those words out loud. That would be rude. But as we were setting up the game I heard,

“Mom’s so easy to beat! I’ve beat her like a million times!”

“Oh ya? Well, I’ve beat her like 100 million times!”

“Honey, don’t take offense. You’re the benchmark. The standard.”

I take it all in stride, never allowing myself to admit to all the games I’ve let them win. Self-esteem is such a fragile commodity.

“Okay guys, the winner of the first two rounds plays…DAD.” I announced in one ominous breath.

“Ooooooh! Dad.” they whispered in reverent tones.

You see, this is why I’m “The Village Idiot.” I don’t have it in my heart to school my wide eyed four year old every time we play Memory. Paul, on the other hand, plays to win. He’s confident that when the time comes, his brilliant offspring will eventually beat him fair and square, and then, oh, the satisfaction it will bring. So to their minds, I’m a Memory moron, and Dad is the end all, be all, the summa cum laude of Memory Champions.

Last night turned our little class system for a loop.

Luke beat me. Fair and square. He had a miraculous run of 8 matches in a row. (Four year olds get to play with a deck of only 10 matches total.) Andy dethroned Kate handily, the former kid Memory champ. Paul beat Andy. Then, for the first time Luke beat Paul. (He’s getting soft in his old age.) Longing to play with the gloves off, he challenged Kate who beat him by one match! You should’ve heard the trash talking at our kitchen table! You’d have thought I’d raised a bunch of street ballers.

Then I challenged Kate, who was feeling very high and mighty after slaying Goliath. And I won. Yes, you read that correctly. I won! I know, this sounds horrible, a mother bragging about beating her seven year old at Memory, but I hadn’t beat Kate fair and square in a very long, long time. Victory is sweet.

I walked away a winner last night, refusing to play best out of three, or even take on my summa cum laude sweetheart. No, I went to bed a champion.

But when I woke up this morning, Luke challenged me to yet another game after breakfast.

“Mom, I’m so gonna win. You’re like, so easy to beat!”

Victory is sweet, but short-lived.

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