Ever since we got back from Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, Ruby has been obsessed with the game Uno. She played several games of it with her cousins, aunts and uncles. You remember the game. Colored cards as suits, with numbers or instructions printed on them. We’ve played at least one hand almost every day.
Usually, we sit in front of the fire and play a round before school starts. Ruby is still learning the rules. Sometimes she’ll put a red 6 down on a yellow 8. She’s getting it.
One thing became readily apparent: she hates to lose. Yesterday, I beat her 5 times and she defeated me once. It really bothered her.
“You win all the time!” she pouted. “I never win.”
Then we have to play just one more game so she *can* win. Sound familiar?
This morning was no different. We sat on the floor and I dealt us each 8 cards. Sometimes we do 7, sometimes 10. We like to mix it up.
She lost the first game. She lost the second game. She lost the third game.
By now, she’s getting frustrated.
“Mom, you always win! It’s not fair.”
I asked her if I was older than she was. Yes, definitely. How long had I been playing Uno? I asked her.
She pondered this.
“A long time?”
Yes. I can’t even remember my first game but I do remember not playing well.
I told her to give herself time. She improves every game, but she can’t see it. She drops those Draw Two cards like they’re hot. She hits me with Wild cards regularly. She comprehends that games, like life, consist of playing the cards you get. We can’t change our critical life circumstances – place of birth, parents, genetics, etc. We can do the best with what we have and grow in wisdom and understanding. Games become a metaphor, a stepping stool to manage loss on a small scale. We also learn to be gracious winners when the cards do go our way.
Ruby listened to me. We played just one more game. Guess who won? Me! Hey, I like to win, too.
We’re taking a little break from games now. I have no doubt we will be back at it again soon. After all, Ruby hates to lose.