I grew up in a competitive family. My parents played sports. My brothers and I played sports. We played board games and video games. We compete. Games are meant to be won. In fact, I have never finished a game of Monopoly because things would get heated when someone embezzle from the bank.
Lately my mother has been trying to compete with me. First it was over Duolingo. Now it is over steps. I refuse to be sucked into this. I shudder as I remember listening to my mother, her sister, and their mother compete over how many pounds they lost over the week. (Shudder.)
Today my parents, my boys, and I were swimming. I was forcing the boys to go over strokes when Tornado E decided to rebel in the middle of the deep in.
My mom: (To Tornado E) I bet you can’t tread water longer than me.
Tornado E did not know what she meant, and I have obviously failed as a mother. So I quickly taught him.
My mom: I bet I can tread water longer than your mom.
My eyebrow shot up. I have been swimming longer than I could walk. I spent my summer days in water, having the skin cancer to prove it. I have 12 swim seasons under my belt.
Me: Oh, I don’t think so. I can tread water longer than both you and Tornado E.
Tornado E: No, you won’t.
So we treaded water. I wish we had thought to time it. But it was too late before I thought about it. We treaded until Tornado E grew bored and complained about the contest.
Me: Fine. Quite. But I bet you I can outlast you.
Tornado E: How much?
Me: Five bucks; you can’t afford twenty.
Tornado E: You’re on.
We treaded more water and more. I regaled Tornado E with stories of treading water for five minutes and ten minutes. I told him in high school we would have to tread water without our hands.
Tornado E grew bored again.
Tornado E: What if I stopped and dunked you?
My mom laughed.
Me: Do not make me lose to your grandmother.
Tornado E: What if I did?
Me: How many workbook pages do you want to do over vacation?
With that, Tornado E turned and tried to attack my mom. She held him at bay with a foot out.
My Mom: Tornado A come play with Mama!
Tornado A, who had been torturing his Papi, turned to us with a devilish grin.
Me: Do NOT make me lose to your grandma!\
Tornado S looked over from his play with Papi. Both boys started swimming towards us.
They swam straight for my mom, who held them off for a while. Barely. Seeing that they could not get close, Tornado A switched tactics. He climbed out of the pool and jumped in as close as he could to his grandma. The other two boys followed.
Tornado S: Ok. Guys. We should come from all different sides.
Me: Aww, they’re working together. (Stage whisper) Do it quieter?
My mom: Why are they all after me and not you?
Me: Because you’re the fun grandma.
I looked at my boys, trying to help me.
Me: You know. I don’t need your help to beat her.
Then the boys all jumped in. Tornado S distracted my mom; while, Tornado E dunked her. Tornado A swam into my arms and kissed me.
So I won.
And I have my own little minions willing to fight for me.