What does winning as a parent look like? Is it when your kid doesn’t throw a fit in the store? Or acts like a little, calm grown up while eating dinner at a restaurant? An Advanced Reader in Pre-School?
Those things are great things. They’re achievements. And I’m not going to knock achievements. But, I am of the opinion, that they are not the whole kit and caboodle of making a great kid.
For me, the things I’ve felt the strongest WINs with, are when I see them surpass me.
I grew up on a dairy farm. I was totally what we now call ‘economically disadvantaged’. -A pretty euphemism created so that those above you can disassociate the reality of poverty.
I was lucky, among my siblings, I was the caboose. The last of the offspring for my parents. My next closest sibling was 6 years older than me. When I was born, my parents had less mouths to feed, as the others had grown and left the nest.
Even so, I felt the tight strings of a single income family, making a living in agriculture. I am ever so grateful for all my parents did for me. Every last bit of it. I do not sit here today, feeling I missed out on a damn thing. However, as a teenager, having my first car be a beat up banana yellow Chevy Luv.. felt humbling. My peers all had Hondas and Toyotas, I had the smoking banana.
Onto landing this plane.
The next generation for me, to my daughters, finds me a single father, scraping the bottom of just-barely-not-being-‘economically disadvantaged’. My younger daughter lamented to me, that she wished she had more of the ‘cool brands’ that her friends wear. Most of our clothes come from Target’s clearance rack, garage sales etc. But the way she did it, without whining. It wasn’t a complaint, it was a graceful expression of desire without faulting the lack of.
Both of my daughters surpass me, I think in their grace in wanting more material things, yet showing gratitude for where we are. I always wanted the new nintendo thing that was always way out of budget. I can’t honestly say I wasn’t a little shit about never getting it sometimes. And I did get some of them, sometimes, more often than I’d like to think about- because I now know it always came at the cost of something else I never thought about. I can see now that the summer I got my Game Boy, that we mostly went fishing around home instead going camping a few hours away.
So, its a humbling win, when I can see that my children have surpassed me. Some is nature and genetics, but some is environment and what they are taught. And these wins, feel amazing, and I do accept a bit of responsibility for that.