We fought a lot as kids. I say now, when I watch my own kids bicker incessantly, that I don't know what the attraction was then, but it was there in my childhood. We always wanted to be the winner. We always wanted the others to be the losers. There could never be a middle ground.
If we weren't playing a game -- Scrabble, monopoly, poker, hearts, etc. -- we were playing the family game. I would bug him, so he would be annoyed. He would pick on me to drive me batty. We would sometimes form alliances to give another one the business. The alliances, of course, would shift on a moment's notice.
There were five of us, and most of us were imbued with the drive to win at all costs. Easy enough to understand wanting to win the game, wanting to win the highest grades, or wanting to win the highest SATs. But what possible prize were we trying to win in other things? And what are my kids trying to win now, when they bicker over the remote, over the drumming, or over the baby doll sitting in the car?
It's taken me this many years to figure it out. We were fighting for parental love. We wanted to be our mom's and dad's favorite. And now my kids want to be in the number one spot for my love or Pete's love. It doesn't matter that you tell them it doesn't work that way or that you love everyone equally or that there is no favorite. They don't believe you. I didn't believe my parents way back when.
We're all grown now, the five children. We were together for the first time in 15 years earlier this week. We've stopped competing for the grand prize, but we'll still fight to the death for the Scrabble crown or the Quiddler crown.
I know why I've quit fighting for it. I know my mom loves me best. I'm thinking the others know that, too. [I'm kidding, aren't I?]
[Sunday Scribblings is a competition mish-mash this week. Check it out.]