Monopoly was a family favorite growing up. It was our go-to game perhaps because it was one of the few games we had where we could all play together. Still to this day, when we are together, competition is fierce. Even when we were all little kids game nights were intense. So I suppose one might say I grew up in a competitive family. In fact, my mom used to reminisce and tell me how she and my dad would race when making their bed together. Whoever got their side done first was the winner. Or something like that.
It turns out that in many ways I married a man who is on the opposite end of the spectrum than me. When he was first introduced to my family game nights he would laugh and shake his head at the high level of intensity. Everybody would be up in arms about who was doing this right and who was gloating too much and who was being the most annoying. I’m not sure if he ever got the privilege of seeing anybody cry during one of these events though.
You can probably gather that family game nights, at least for me, created more stress and strife than anything. As Mr. Sexy and I began growing our family and creating our own traditions, game night was something I wanted for my kids – but not with me up in arms over who was winning or losing at Candy Land. Yes, Candy Land. It happens. I became particularly concerned about my competitive nature when I saw the same qualities blooming in Michael. Again, it was Candy Land. Candy Land is where all game nights begin, I imagine. So Mr. Sexy and I began to coach Michael on breathing techniques and lecturing him that win or lose, the purpose is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. I quickly realized I was learning right alongside Michael.
I began taking a few pages from my husband’s book. It started with an adult beverage during game night. (We all gotta start somewhere!) I practiced saying as little as possible. This would cause my heart to race and my body would become rigid from the desire to whine, gloat or say something snarky. That’s when Michael’s breathing techniques came in to play. It’s still a little amazing how a few deep breaths can calm my racing heart.
It has been a few years but I think Mr. Sexy would agree: Game nights have improved.
Now, game nights when all my brothers and parents get together is still another story. I have decided to be very picky about when I choose to join in – for my own sanity, of course. And even though I get chided for this, I know that it’s in my best interest. I also have a rule that ANY game with these crazy family members of mine should be accompanied by an adult beverage of some sort. What can I say? I’m an imperfect person and I really like being an adult.
All this to say, I’m incredibly thankful every day for the husband I have. He continues to challenge me simply by how he lives his life in front of me. My kids are so blessed to have him around – if for no other reason than to keep their crazy mom in check!
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