Roller skates and dirty dishes

My five-year-old is a speed racer on rollerskates. However it happened, she got 99% of my DNA, but somehow didn’t inherit my overarching “Whoa! Caution! Stop!” gene. So, naturally, she was thrilled when she found she could attach WHEELS to her FEET. You can find her most days with her purple and white skates laced up, zipping (loudly) around our wood floors – dodging doorways and pulling off some spectacular drifts into the kitchen.

But she HATES losing. Nobody *likes* losing, but she can’t stand it. She attempted the roller skating race at our local roller rink once, and came in third place. Full disclosure, there were three competitors. So last. She came in last.

And, since that one time, she refuses to race again.

That little recorded horserace tune plays (dun dun, dah-dah dun) and she sits in a spectator chair with frustrated tears in her eyes because she wants to fly at top speed around the rink (her favorite) but she knows she probably won’t win (least favorite). So she weighs her options and the fear of losing holds her to her seat. She doesn’t race.

We were talking about this at dinner last night. She was wanting to try something, but knew she probably wouldn’t win, so she didn’t want to do it. I related this to how she feels at the skating rink.

“Honey, you might not win for a lot of times in the race, but one day you might. Or you might come in second place, or skate faster than you did last time. All of those are good things – and most importantly, you are doing something that makes your heart happy. There are lots of chances to keep trying. Losing isn’t permanent.”

And there it was: LOSING ISN’T PERMANENT.

My own words reversed course mid-air and came back and slapped me on the face. They stared me in the eye. They repeated themselves with an echo effect in my mind.

Losing isn’t permanent.

Because yesterday, I felt like I was losing. Big time.

Losing to my house, which was suffocating me with piled-up dishes, a tsunami of laundry, dirty toilets, and a million pieces of toys that somehow cannot compile themselves into one complete set of anything.

Losing touch with my husband, who is working incessantly under a deadline that won’t end for another week and I can’t remember the last time we were sitting on the couch having an actual conversation. Not to mention, in the meantime, my main companions for every waking moment are under the age of 7. And they all start fighting as soon as I go to the bathroom.

Losing as a diabetic mom because my blood sugar levels were through the roof all day and I couldn’t get them under control. I was sluggish and irritable, and I worry that days like this might take years off my life. And didn’t I want to be a better parent than that? Don’t I want to see my kids grow up? (And my CGM could have helped but I couldn’t find it –  a few weeks ago I put it somewhere to “keep it safe,” and apparently that place is too safe because I turned my already messy house upside down and still no luck. Lost, literally.)

Losing as a parent because I ignored my kids while they played outside then let them watch TV for an hour while I did none of the stuff I needed to do (see point #1) and just laid down and took a nap because I was so overwhelmed with the losing-ness of it all.

And then I heard my own words. LOSING ISN’T PERMANENT.

What was I telling her?
There will be more races.
It’s ok to lose sometimes.
Success might not look like winning – it might look like doing better than you did last time.
Find what you’re good at.
And, most of all, do what makes your heart happy.

She’s the only one who can make her decision to try again. But I know she needs to do it, and that her tears will keep coming in the stands until she does.

I’m the only one who can make my decision to try again. To look at my house, my husband, my children and pray that God will again give me fresh eyes and a fresh start. I don’t want to be jealous of the people I see living boldly but sit out because I’m scared I’ll just lose again. I’ve got to roll out there and keep flying and falling – it’s where my heart is, and every day is a new start.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1 

8 thoughts on “Roller skates and dirty dishes

  1. Donna Terry says:

    If at all possible, you should join an inter-generational group that includes women who’ve been there and survived. We are called to encourage each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cassidy says:

    Awesome article! It’s nice to hear about other mom’s that feel overwhelmed with the losing sometimes (read everyday). You’re an awesome mom!! Your kids are lucky to have ya!


  3. Kelly Poole says:

    Jessica! Just came across your blog… I needed to hear this too 🙂
    You words are beautifully written- what a gift! Your FB posts have me smiling and laughing a LOT, but I have not taken the time to tell you. We miss the McGahees! So excited to follow your life here in your blog. Congratulations on your first few posts!


  4. thecristashow says:

    Hi Jessica, I had the pleasure of meeting your parents this week in Sarasota, missed them to say goodbye this morning, but thank your beautiful mom for telling me about your blog. Your writing is beautiful and thoughtful.


  5. Haley McLendon says:

    The house. The nap. The fighting and bickering. The guilt over the husband. I am going through that right now. My son has been acting out. It’s because I’m not teaching him well enough. I’ll do better tomorrow. Because you’re right. Tomorrow is another race.


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