March 1, 2014 by Dadinator
The Win is hard to see and even harder to anticipate. We seek it out all the time, thinking it is in our grasp only to see it flit away. We pursue it around corners and down alleys trying to catch a glimpse of it. But it is like a benevolent ninja. Invisible till it strikes. When The Win wants itself to be known you can see it from a mile away.
A moment of #parentwin is a thing that is lauded and celebrated. Dad dressing up with toddler as batman. Dad letting daughter put lipstick in his face. In fact, in internet land, there is a lot of parent win about dads. Why is that? Do we set a lower bar for dads? Or are we all exhibitionist f-wits? I don’t know.
Yet there are real moments when you say “Nailed it” to yourself. When they are little it is simple. A reaction to the face you pulled (as long as it’s not reacting by crying) makes you feel joyous. A smile makes you positively jubilant. Maybe they imitate you, and you smile thinking to yourself “I taught them that!”. Maybe they reach for you. Maybe they laugh that rich syrupy laugh of a baby that coats the world around it and makes it glisten sweetly. The moments are many. The moments are wonderful. The moments strike your heart and make it feel somehow golden.
They grow. They grow faster than you could imagine. Or maybe we shrink, I never worked that out. But still The Win is there. They crawl. They walk. They feed themselves. Then they even get some food in their mouths. They splash in a pool. They call out to you.
This is all standard stuff. But you still give yourself credit. You still take it as a win.
Then there’s the special stuff. When they climb a playground solo and beam back at you. When your son sings your song to his sister, just like you do. When they start to say please without prompting. When they say “I love you”. When after half an hour of tears because they can’t watch TV due to a power fault they look to you, raise their arms and say “Oh Well!” in stoic resignation. Like you have been doing for half an hour. Then they do it another 70 times and it gets a bit old…. Or maybe they show compassion and give another kid who is upset a hug. And they pat the kid on the back, the same way you do for them.
And sometimes parentwin comes out of parentfail. You avoid cutting your kid’s nails because you hurt them one time. Then you do it again and it all goes fine, that’s a win. You talk yourself out of ever bathing your son because you got so absolutely terrified you were drowning them when you tried it for the first time. But you get back to it. That’s a win. You stop yelling “NO!” at your child in anger. And, in time, they stop yelling “NO!” at themselves. That’s a win.
Parenting can be a million little wins. You never know when the next one will strike. But be sure, it’s probably closer than you think.
Here’s a little gallery of win.