Today was a good day. Surprisingly.
Today, my older daughter had her 15th birthday party. She took four friends and went to a nearby corn maze. I had to accompany them with my 12 year old. I went with her through the corn maze. The way this maze works is that there are 8 stations with a hole punch (they each have a different shape) and if you get all 8 holes punched, you can get a free ice cream. Each daughter was determined to beat the other one. Of course, I don’t like to lose.
I don’t like competitions. I do, but I don’t. I like ones I’m good at it, naturally. And I learned early that if I don’t care about the outcome, sometimes it’s better to just lose, so that somebody else who really wants to win will be able to do so. It has served me well with friends in college and with kids. After all, not that I come anywhere close to winning a 5k, but I have no expectation of winning and so I don’t care that I don’t. When the kids were younger, I would make sure that I didn’t win. Not every time, but enough times.
Today was a competition, at least for my children, and I really wanted to see my younger daughter win. We both had aerial photos of the corn maze, so we were on equal footing, and I pride myself on directions and knowing where I am. And I was never lost. I knew exactly where I was. Only we couldn’t find the last hole punch station. Neither could my other daughter and her friends. We went over and over the same paths again, but we couldn’t find it. It became very, very frustrating. We even bumped into my other daughter and her friends a few times and they couldn’t find it either. But they eventually did.
It was miserable. I don’t care that she beat us, sort of. There was a certain amount of dumb luck, which is what I got most frustrated about. I had the perfect plan, knew where I had been, where I wanted to go, knew it all exactly, but missed the one path I needed. Repeatedly. In the end I feel like I let down my daughter, which I absolutely hate to do. This is why I hate competitions, ones that I care about the outcome. They really aren’t good for me.