Mama Ginger Tree doesn't live here anymore.  I have moved to The Norwindians.  The names have changed, but we're the same family.  Please add The Norwindians to your reader!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guest Post #1: The Games We Play

By now I'm sure I am having a wonderful time on my vacation in the mountains.  Today's guest post is from the lovely Carrie of Cze-Johnson.  I put the call out for guest bloggers on Twitter and within what felt like minutes Carrie came up with this post.  Go check her out when you get a minute and give her some support.

Hi, and welcome to Mama Ginger Tree’s blog. Though I suppose you probably don’t need much of a welcome, cause you’re probably a regular, and just who in hell is this writing, ANYWAY?

I’m Carrie. I’m a fairly new reader in these parts, but thought it’d be fun to shanghai the Candy Cane Forest while Mama Ginger Tree was on vacation. CLEARLY, the woman NEEDS a vacation if she’s allowing ME to do a guest post... but that’s a whole other subject.

So admittedly, I haven’t been a reader here for that long. Only about a month, actually. So coming up with an idea/topic to post about for an audience I really don’t know for a blog I’m JUST getting to know is a pretty daunting task. I tried racking my brain for something hip and fresh and maybe naked (well.. not NAKED-naked.. sheesh! We just barely MET after all…) something that would be smiled upon by the masses yet hopefully strike a chord.. oh crap. Who am I kidding??? Maybe I should just play a game.

So that got me thinking. We as moms, we as women... we as bloggers and we as PEOPLE do a lot of game playing. And I’m not talking about the Candy Land Variety. I’m talking about those OTHER games. It seems as though through every stage of life... there seems to be some undercurrent of game playing that seizes and takes control of our actions… voluntary and involuntary.

As children… life IS a game. Pretend play, imaginary friends, and never-ending races to see who can be FIRST at whatever. I watch my own children, and often marvel at how EVERYTHING is a game. Sometimes this can be pretty annoying… like when it’s time to get buckled into carseats, or dressed for church, or when I’m on the phone with an insurance company and my daughter yells ever-so-loudly that it’s my turn to make a fart. Most times it’s fun, though… yes.. even the fart game (c’mon.. like you’ve never wanted to make your child GAG from the smell of you like you have for years and years of diaper changes?? No?? oh. Ok.. moving on, then.) But I do enjoy getting wrapped in their innocence and knowing in their world it’s going to be a happy ending.

As teenagers, I recall making it my own mission to drive my parents crazy. This equated to several games… ones of ‘not speaking to them like EVER’, ones of cloak and dagger (“here.. wear this UNDER your shirt, and you can take off the shirt before we get there”), ones of one-upping and begging (“well *I* got 2 more A’s on my report card than so-and-so, so can I have more allowance”) and of course.. the ultimate favorite… the IOU games.. where I would PROMISE to do whatever to have whatever whenever I wanted.

College and dating offered a new set of games… drinking ones, to name a few. But a WHOLE new breed of mind games. If I do THIS, he’s sure to love me. If I don’t do THAT, then this that and the other thing will surely result. Those younger 20s were lonely games. Not that other people weren’t involved… on the contrary, most games were the result of my intent focus on someone else. But those games then? Mostly in my own head. Telling myself I needed to be skinnier, smarter, more available, LESS available, more sexual… the list and rules went on and on. I don’t miss those days.

Eventually… like in that old movie “War Games”… I learned that those types of games I was playing never had a winner. So in my late 20’s, I decided I was done playing games… it was time to find a REAL MAN, and get settled down. HAH. Who was I kidding? That was when the real games BEGAN.

Finding and being courted by a man you intend to keep around for your entire life is like a high-stakes poker game. You’ve learned by this point not to show all your cards right off the bat… you’ve perfected your bluffing, you know how to read your opponent, and to slack back JUST ENOUGH to let them think they’re running the show. But you know better… it’s all a big orchestration, with only the finest conductors not being noticed. Pull it off, and the jackpot is yours. Sometimes… you end up flat on your ass and emotionally broke. Or broken, as the case may be. When that happens.. you may take a detour back into the head games until you are ready for high-stakes again.

So when you DO make it big, and get your jackpot and happily ever after finish… the games are over, right? Nope. This is what I tend to refer to as the ‘truth or dare’ stage. And by that I don’t mean ask my husband if he dares to not tell me the truth about something. No.. this is the time of life when you must be honest with your partner. At times you must be brave. You step outside of your comfort zone because someone you love and trust asked you to. Don’t believe me? Ask any wife who has had to clean up a vomitorium from a husband who is sick or had too much to drink. Ask a husband who has had to pretend his wife wasn’t hormonal during pregnancy. Or ANY spouse who feels the other is just as attractive to them even though they have put on a few pounds.

Having children brings you full circle. As a parent, you play with them. But in addition to this cycling back, you take on a new set of games… ones that you are the superhero, and can make anything better. No matter what. One look from your own child, and you are involuntarily thrust into that role. You WILL protect them. At pretty much all costs.

You’ll go without sleep. You’ll not get your hair done. You’re wear last year’s clothes, you’ll eat cold food, you’ll stay home or you’ll go to work and a plethora of other things... all in the name of love. Because that’s what Superheroes do.

Of course... every relationship we as humans create tends to have its own set of rules. From in-laws to neighbors, co-workers and your child’s teachers. Even Bloggers. We read, we comment, we like, we link. Sometimes the moves are simple and natural, and in those movements we take the greatest leaps forward as individuals and within the relationship. Sometimes... we take or witness calculated actions. Playing nice, seeking popularity, or even to ostracize. Let’s face it... some folks are just playing to win.

So regardless of the stage of life you happen to be in... let’s take a minute to applaud Mama Ginger Tree. She and the other players in her Candy Cane Forest are wise to treat life as the game it is. I have a strong feeling that everyone in her game comes out feeling like a winner… and as she says on her masthead… that is always sweet.


anymommy said...

I wish I didn't have to play blocks quite so many times a day right now. Cool post! It's fun to meet you.

Maura said...

There really are so many games we play, no matter what stage we're in. Echoing anymommy, it's nice to meet you and I'm glad you stepped in for MGT while she's vacationing it up!