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She Came, She Saw, She Kicked Its Duck-Launching Butt

Yes, there’s no surprise endings with a title like that, eh?

Friday morning Maddie was apprehensive about heading to Invention Camp – still nervous about her group’s duck launcher not working – but was trying hard to be strong in her decision not to forfeit. When I dropped her off, I pulled the counselor aside and said, “Listen, if the duck-launching thing doesn’t go well and Maddie asks to go to the bathroom, can you please let her go? Quickly?” and filled her in on the rest. The girl was sympathetic and promised to not give Maddie any grief should tears overtake her.

Throughout the day I sent up a quick prayer for my daughter – not that she’d win, or even score a point, with her invention – just that she’d have the courage to try it, and the strength to face the results. By the time I went to pick her up for the parental showcase and dismissal, I was a nervous wreck.

As I walked towards Maddie’s table the counselor spotted me and beamed. “Guess who didn’t need a bathroom break?” she fairly shouted.

I looked at Maddie, who tried unsuccessfully to mask a smile and finally gave up the attempt altogether. “Baby? How’d it go?” I prodded.

Maddie jumped up and down. “We won! We won!”

Yep, her group won her level’s challenge.

I grabbed Maddie and squeeze the life out of her, spinning her around madly and mouthing a “thank you thank you thank you” prayer over and over again.

Here’s how it played out:

Maddie’s team discussed forfeiting and finally decided against it. Each team had three tries; Maddie’s team chose another girl to do the first two tries and said Maddie would do the third attempt. In order to win, a team had to score at least one point.

First try out, Maddie’s team scored a point and the crowd went wild. Second time around, no point. Then it was Maddie’s turn. She stepped up to the launcher, took a big gulp, launched, and –

No point.

But her team was the only one to score a point at all, so they won.

And really, that’s the best possible way this whole thing could have gone down. Maddie’s team won, the pressure wasn’t on her to make it so, and in fact she didn’t even score a point when she had the chance with no pressure on her. BUT – and this is a big but – she didn’t care! She was just thrilled her group won, and so proud of them all, that she didn’t even mind not scoring a point when it was her turn.

We went out for ice cream to celebrate, and for the rest of the day when Maddie told the story, the first thing Maddie said was, “Guess what! I was scared, but my team entered the competition anyway! Oh, and we won!”

That? Is a great order of priorities. My baby learned a lot that day.


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