Saturday, June 22, 2013

What Parenting Tought Me About Being Second Best

It'll take a moment to get to my aha moment of parenting but I need to set the's just need to be patient.

This week has been an extremely difficult week.

I am certain there are others have far worse weeks than I.

I am certain that the reasons my week was awful is petty in compared to others.

And I am most certain, given the crappy circumstances I have been dealt throughout my life, that these experiences this week are not nearly as bad as those.

But, bad moments on top of other bad moments, really are tough to bounce back from when they come all at once.

Nothing life threatening.

Nothing tragic.

Just a lot of circumstances in which I was reminded that I was or am second best.

Second best in some situations is pretty nice - like in the Olympics or the lottery.  In both those situations, yes, being first would have been nice but second still has it's perks.

Mine were not Olympic Silver moments....Nope....not even close.

I have had several situations over the past few years in which someone else decided I was second best

Well that's too bad for them, right?  Yes, but in reality, it does hurt being second best.

This week I was reminded of several of those.  One came flashing back by a simple song playing in a restaurant.  The song reminded me of someone that I loved and have tried so desperately to forget and move on from.  That one song brought back a floodgate of memories and pangs in my heart.  All for someone that no longer even thinks of me, that loved me but I was an option and tossed me aside when something new and better came along.  Second best.

Another was an awkward run-in with someone that actually had to make a choice and, yep, I was on the losing end of that one as well.  Second best.   The run-in was awkward because the first choice was at their side....and certainly didn't know the flustered mom saying hello was a second choice.

Another was a professional situation in which, by no purposeful intention, I was made to feel as though I was not as good others.  And still another was a situation in which it was a surprise to me to find out that I was no longer a first choice.

All different circumstances.

All rather personal and as you can imagine humiliating, embarrassing and as human nature has it, any one of those would be enough to cause self doubt.

But the worst part of this week?

Seeing my child go through a similar situation and seeing the disappointment, anger, sadness, and self doubt creep in.

My son was involved in a competition that requires quite a bit of subjective judging.  On any given day, the same speech could be considered a winner or enough to miss the cut depending on a judge.

That day, he just missed the cut.  A matter of one or two points after days of competition and he was sitting in the hotel watching the Heat make the Spurs second best while others were prepping for the finals competition the next morning.

As I tried to console him, rather unsuccessfully I may add, I heard myself telling him I wish I could tell you life was fair, but it is not.

I wish I could tell you that this won't happen again in your lifetime, but it won't.

I wish I could tell you that everything will be ok, but you won't believe me.

I wish I could take the hurt away, but I can't.  It will hurt.  It will sting.  It will fad away but every now and again, something will remind you - a song, a smell, a joke, a memory - and the hurt will come back....not as strong.....but it will come back.

Be sad, be angry, be disappointed....but eventually in a few days, wake up and vow to put that in the past.  Accept it and allow that disappointment, anger and sadness to propel you forward to greater pastures.

Hmmmm......perhaps this is advice I should take?

So, here is my plan.  I am going to make some changes.  Changes in my day to day life.  Changes in my professional life.  Changes in how I make decisions, changes in my dreams.  I'm going to write them down and look at them EVERYDAY.

And although being second best pretty much sucks (sorry but there isn't any better word to describe it), I am going to take being second best as a an inspiration to do greater things with my take the opportunity to do WHATEVER I want and do it as best as I can.

To those around me that thought I was second best (not that I think they are reading along), well, I hope they don't eventually realize what everyone else knows - that I'm first-class, fabulous. talented and incredibly smart - because then guess who will feel like second best....not me!

Wow, parenting teaches the parent!

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