You think the minute your baby appears, life will change. You’ll mature and become an adult instantly. You’ll just know how to burp a newborn. You’ll know how to settle disputes between arguing children. You’ll know how to balance work, children’s needs, and a husband. Plus you’ll have the mythical formula for perfect homemade mac n’cheese. I think I struggled with motherhood because that magic transformation didn’t happen. I felt like the same nutty girl, but with a shit-ton of responsibility.
But I think it took seven+ years for me to finally see it. Age and children really has changed me. Last night, I played a game of Monopoly. I swore off the game about twelve years ago after a terrible screaming match ensued over a St. James hotel. But when I came home from Toronto, the boys were deeply engrossed in a game. They asked me to join, but I was exhausted and knew better. At bedtime both boys begged me to play Monday night and I caved. In the morning, they were happy. In the evening right before $500’s were passed out, they were happy. I crossed my fingers and reminded myself, “They’re your babies. They’re your babies.”
So we started. Becks and I were a team fighting the rest of the Ray boys. He’s four and still needs help. But he’s ruthless. He laughs when someone lands on his property. He points out how rich he is. He tells you, “I’m not going to win. I’m going to destroy you.” And he cries when he tries to come back into the game. He’s going to be a problem when he’s old enough to Get-it Get-it. Right now, his four-year attention span is still pulling ahead of his genetic disposition to Monopoly. Barely, but it wins. Mid-way through, it was Mark, Cooper and me battling it out.
The signs were pointing towards and epic battling between Mark and I. Which means we’d tetter with words of divorce… But Coop landed on Free Parking three times and the pot was huge. Shortly after the last two times, he landed on Broadway and Park Place. Mark and I knew it was over. But I had some cheap properties and made a deal with Mark for the yellow spaces. I built up a corner with hotels and tried to win.
Two hours in and lots of taunts from Cooper, I kept my cool. I wasn’t letting him win either. He really wanted my green property, so he could build and I never gave it up. I’d roll, land on his property, and let him roll before I had to pay out. All of this will make him a better player. And kept me in the game longer… But finally it was past bedtime, Becks was flipping out because we wouldn’t let him join again, I knew it was time to call it. But you can’t just call a game of Monopoly. It’s against my nature. We rolled and played until I landed on Boardwalk with three houses. I could have sold my hotels. I could have mortgaged my properties. I could have thrown a fit when Mark just gave Coop his properties and didn’t offer me one (I’m not bitter). Instead, I said “Good game, kid.” And ignored his Winning dance and his “Loser” song.
My magically motherhood transformation has happened. It wasn’t in the hospital or during the long nursing jags. I noticed it during Monopoly. I’ve grown up, people.**
** I could leave this part out… But five minutes into his Winner dance, I reminded him that he did win three huge Free Parking pots. If I’m to old to learn how to be a good winner, I can help him find the way.***
***A good blogger would leave this part out and let you think I was teaching valuable life lessons. But really, I just needed him to be quiet.