The hippo’s pink head lunges forward, his jaws snap shut.
I squeal, “I think I beat you!”
He puts on a brave face and looks at his hippo, who apparently wasn’t hungry.
“One, two. I have two…” he counts the marbles slowly.
“I have eight!…oh, um, but you were close” I add as I watch his face drop.
I’m a person who’ll beat a three year old at Hungry Hungry Hippos. By default, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing or who it hurts, I want to win. I’ve gotten physically violent over a game of Monopoly.
We play another round and I try to let him win, but the marbles avoid his hippo and soon he’s hand feeding it. He’s cheating and he’s desperate, stuck with a hippo on a diet. I tell him that winning isn’t everything, but I really want to tell him not to be like his mother.
His mother is the Hungriest of Hippos, and she’s eaten a lot of people to make herself feel better.
I hate to lose, it scares me. Winning and Perfectionism hold hands in my world and sometimes they try to stab me in the head, but I keep them around because I’m afraid no one will love me if I don’t sparkle.
What you fear controls you, and even plastic hippopotami can take your freedom.
Slowly, I’m learning it’s alright to be a loser. I recently discovered a big, powerful God who loves people who are hungry and weak, a God who loves the frightened ones…and I want my son to believe in Him too. I want my son to be free.