Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sometimes, You Just Don't Win

Today, we experienced a little tragedy. One of our new pets, a sweet baby chick, passed away, for whatever reason baby animals sometimes do. I, of course, was quite distressed. Believing that my children would also be distressed, I took the proper measures to ensure that Chicken Little received a viewing and memorial service.

(Cue emotionally moving piano ditty)

I wrapped the tiny bird in a tissue and laid her in a box, put her name on it, and prepared myself to explain to my children what had happened, and how we’d never ever see the chickie alive again, and death is a part of life, and of course little birdies go to heaven, and sometimes those we love die, and we miss them, and we hope to see them again some day, and we will all feel better in time.

They could have cared less.

Oh, initially they were concerned, and my daughter even said “I so sad, Mommy,” but it was nothing compared to the tears she shed a short while later when I wouldn’t give her a jelly bean.

But despite my dismay at their lack of emotion (and the unfortunate amount of emotion I dealt with), it got me thinking.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

In the third grade, I was in a spelling bee. I’m not going to lie – I was G-O-O-D good. I could spell words like arrogance and vanity without so much as the bat of an eyelash. Over the course of the bee, I beat out every other girl, and most of the boys. It was down to the final three. I was up first. The word was: “rhyme.”

I had studied. I knew this one. But for the life of me, I could not remember if the word really had an “h” in it. I mean seriously. What kind of a word is that? A silent “h”?

“Rhyme… r…” I stared into the audience at my mom, half-hoping she’d give me a sign. Come on Ma – H, or no H?

“…y… m-e. Ryme.”

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

I’m not the only one who doesn’t win. We’ve all had our moments. Even our beloved celebrities have had theirs. Like when Britney Spears went loony and shaved herself bald. Like when Tiger Woods wrecked his SUV and simultaneously revealed that he was a lying, cheating scumbag and forever stained his title as “Only Professional Golfer 50% of Females Can Name.” Like when Taylor Swift dated Taylor Lautner and no one could make up a celebrity couples’ name for them.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

Like when my younger brother was playing with my daughter, tossing her back and forth, over and over… and she threw up all over him. Or when I slaved over a homemade cake for my mom’s birthday, didn’t let the layers cool long enough, and the buttercream filling melted and spilled out all over my car on the way to her party. Or when I was clipping my baby’s fingernails in church and totally snipped the tip of his finger, causing him to bleed and scream murderously until my husband took him out and left me to sit in shame for the rest of meeting.

Sometimes, you just don’t win.

And really, isn’t it true, that we are all fighting, every day, in a battle we will never win? Just like our sweet baby chicken, we live as best we can, battling against age, against illness, against death – until the moment comes when we are expected to give it all up, to willingly secede from one life and move on to an unfamiliar place.

But, you remember, my children weren’t overly concerned with this loss. Maybe it’s because they haven’t had enough experience in real loss – in death – just yet. Maybe they’re ignorant. But maybe, in their innocence, they are simply more accepting, more resilient, and more prepared to give up what was never theirs to begin with.

Sometimes, you just don’t win. And that’s ok.

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