During a rousing game of “Old Maid,” I had a parental epiphany. You know the kind, where you realize you’ve been doing it all wrong…
Our household was nearing the witching hour, that time before bed when everyone is still behaving sweetly, but you hold your breath knowing it is a short lived experience. With their nightgowns on and teeth brushed, I watched as little girls giggled playing card games. We were just like one of those TV families that do wholesome activities and get along. That was until, the old maid card left my hand for supposed greener pasture. Disappointment flooded her face as she realized she was stuck with the losing card.
The messages from games we play can bake a negative association into our minds. This one card in the deck had the power to saddle a player with imminent defeat. That didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t fair. I would stand for it no longer.
Beginning to take pity on the Old Maid, I grabbed the card and began to talk her up to my children. There she was in distressed denim, accessorized with a head scarf and her flowing locks were pulled into a braid. She looked perfectly nice. Her pouty lips were adorned with lipstick and the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile. She was carrying a large basket of produce, which meant she was both strong and possessed life skills. My guess is that she had a cat or two at home and could make peanut brittle. The more good qualities I saw in this Old Maid, the more I liked her. Right then and there I used my parental authority for good and declared the Old Maid card to be the path to victory. Anyone who was lucky enough to hold her in their hand was sure to triumph.
While I normally call out those who arbitrarily change rules to benefit themselves, I had to do it for my kids. How can I expect my children to grow up to care about other people, people different from themselves, if we are actively practicing how to disregard them? As a mother, I want my kids to serve our elderly neighbors and family members. To shovel their sidewalks, and pick weeds in their garden, and draw them pictures. I want them to view others through lenses of kindness, seeing their positive attributes. So from now on, in our house the Old Maid card is treasured. For those of you still playing Old Maid by the classic rules, may I suggest calling it “Old Karen”?
All joking aside, here at Integrative Family Medicine, this is how we view you! We see you for your good qualities, not the diagnosis you’re labeled with. We’ll listen to you, we’re happy to partner with you on your health journey.
Have you ever had a parental epiphany? If so, how did it lead to change in your household?
Sara Lynn, RN, BSN
“If you don’t invest in your health, no one else will.”