Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lessons in Losing

First place ribbon
at our State Fair

So if you follow politics, you might have heard that there was a pretty big upset in my little state tonight.

It has left me in a state of disbelief.  Literally. 

You see, ever since meeting our Congressman (the one who lost his Senate bid tonight) at the State Fair this summer, Boo has become the candidate's Number One Fan. 

He's been talking about him non-stop.  Hollering his name (LOUDLY) as we're driving down the road, causing me to nearly slam on the brakes for fear of hitting the man when in reality, Boo has seen the upteenth campaign sign.

Collecting campaign literature to stack in a nice pile on the Homework Table in the kitchen. Reading Wikipedia. Listening intently to each and every robo-call on the answering machine.  (I'd venture to say he's more informed than the average voter.)

Today we took the kids to vote and they giggled at the sight of their school driveway adorned with signs and their library transformed by square boxes with curtains.  Boo came into the voting booth with me, stood solemnly as I exercised my right to vote, watched as the light for his candidate lit up.

Upon exiting the booth with me he announced that he was going to be sending an invitation to the Congressman to attend his birthday party in November. 

Boo will be turning 9.

Among the issues that Boo is struggling with is learning how to handle winning and losing.  The winning part he's got down.  It's the losing part that becomes a meltdown, complete with him pulling his hair, hitting himself in the face and calling himself a loser. 

I know most kids go through this and you might even tell me it's normal.  I get that.  But in this Aspergerian world in which we live, the reaction to losing just ... isn't.  He is having a tough, tough time with this.

So when the early returns turned into bigger numbers, it fell to me to break the news to Boo.  He was already riled up about his homework, the ironic assignment of "write four sentences about a lesson you didn't want to learn."

I didn't expect this primary election night outcome, so I didn't really think to prepare for it. I didn't have a Plan B, a trick up my sleeve with a solution to make this better. This ain't gonna be pretty, I thought, taking a deep breath, grimacing at The Husband and shaking my head slowly.  Parental pantomime, autism style.

"Not good," I said, quickly followed by "the AP just called it."

"What happened?" Boo said.

I told him.

"He lost?" Boo said.

"Yes, honey."

"He really lost?"

"Yes, he did." 

Here it comes ... the screaming, the ripping of his shirt, the stomping up the stairs, the hitting.  Wait for it ....




And that was it. 

I raised my eyebrows to The Husband, shrugged and looked heavenward, and exhaled.  And went back to the live Twitter feed from my newspaper's political types, commiserated on Facebook, tried to get Billy Joel's "and it just may be a luuuuuuuuuuunatic you're looking for" out of my head.

What the hell just happened here? Electorally-speaking, I have no freakin' clue except to say that more people have lost their minds than I previously thought. 

But more importantly, by losing this election, our outgoing Congressman might have just taught my son another lesson that he didn't expect to learn.

He might have just taught him that it's OK to lose.  That in this campaign called life, it will happen to the best of us. It'll happen to the good guys, to people we like, to people who talk to us at the State Fair. That it's sad when we lose, but someone has to and ... well, sometimes things don't always go the way we want them to.

So thank you, Congressman.  Thank you for what you've done for my adopted state. Thank you for taking time to talk to my boy at the Fair.  Thank you for being a role model for him and a fine example for him to (literally and figuratively) look up to.

And since you might have more free time in November than you anticipated, we have an invitation to a different kind of party with your name written all over it.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Lori said...

I would seriously link his office to your blog and invite him to the party. This guy might just need you guys in his corner in the future!

Niksmom said...

I hope you send this to him. He might not be able to make the bday party...but I bet he'd send a card!

Amy said...

That is a seriously cute story. How great that he took the time to talk to your son, and that your son became such a big fan! Maybe he will go to the birthday party :) And congratulations that your son took it so well, and hopefully learned a great lesson!

Jenny said...

What a great post! Definitely an awesome lesson for your son. =) Kids are funny and surprising!