“Gambaccini’s Don’t Quit.”
Edward and I started this family motto a few years ago. We adopted these words as our own because we felt as though they would never become outdated in our children’s lives. These simple words have graced our household’s lips many, many times. I have heard my children using it against one another when one of them wants to walk away from what they feel is an unfair game of neighborhood tag. Or when they are frustrated with being second-best at a dual player video game. Or my favorite, when they realize they are about to lose a nail-biting game of Candy Land and attempt to sabotage the board before the game officially ends. And when they look to me for an infinite piece of Motherhood Wisdom that can only come from the one person that loves them most in the whole world, the only thing I can come up with is “You’re going to have to just get over it. Life stinks sometimes”. As harsh as that sounds, I believe this is a huge part of what molds our “little” people into the person they will become. How they deal with not being perfect or the best, how they cope with it and how they prepare themselves to try it again (and possibly still be crappy at it) all helps to form the “Big” person they are going to be. And while we’re on the subject of being an average person, I am not a fan of participation trophies (I know, I know. I am in the minority here. But before you judge me, read on!) I think a trophy should be an award for excellence. Not something given because you paid to put your child’s name on a roster. Trophies are passed out like t-shirts anymore. My children all seem to have a matching shirt and medal for every activity they have ever partaken in. And sometimes, they don’t deserve it. Like when my then 5-year-old son had begged to play soccer, so we signed him up and he was so excited until he realized that he, in fact, hated soccer. I had to drag him to practices and games. There were tears and a general refusal to play the game. We said those dang family motto words every.single.week to him. Other than being completely embarrassed by my kid, I must admit that I was impressed by his shear will and determination to NOT participate. He held steadfast in his refusal to kick the ball. If there was an award for “The Kid Who Never Actually Participated” he would have been a shoe-in. So, when the end of the season approached and the traditional email with awards ceremony information was announced I respectfully responded to the team’s Coach that we would most definitely not be in attendance.
I have also found myself referencing our phrase throughout an especially tough day or time in my life. For instance, the time I found myself standing in a pool of my kid’s vomit. We were in our small guest bathroom, he missed the toilet and it splashed (splattered 360*, really) everywhere. I used italics there because it’s no joke. No exaggeration. It was everywhere. As I stood there trying to wrap my head around the sucky situation at hand, I decided that the best thing to do would be to walk out the door. Just leave. ‘Throw in the towel’ so to speak. Of course, I didn’t. Even now when I think back to that fateful day I have no idea how I cleaned that disaster up (I mean, it was on the friggin’ ceiling people!) How I managed to clean up myself, my ill child and care for the other children I had at home is unbeknownst to me. I am fairly confident that I have purposefully blocked out the details from my memory. I do recall reminding myself, out-loud, over and over through the gagging and watering eyes “Gambaccini’s don’t quit.” I also remember telling my husband later that evening that I deserved a gold plated, diamond-encrusted Tiara. Possibly an all-inclusive vacation someplace far, far away and completely alone. At the very least a full-time maid. Needless to say, no participation awards were handed out to me for this particular event. But, every once in a blue moon, this ‘memory’ of ours will pop up in family conversation (because my kids think it’s rather hilarious) and they beg for me to “tell the puke story!” The last time this happened, my son – aka ‘The Puker’– looked at me after I finished the story we all know by heart and said “You have to get over it Mom. Life stinks sometimes.” Well played, kid.
So tell me, do you have a family motto?