I hope one day my children will remember how hard I tried. My goodness, I try. We dye Easter eggs. We carve jack-o-lanterns. I attempt to lead High/Low at dinnertime. We make little home made Christmas ornaments every year (which you may remember have actually become adorable zombie Santas in years past). At Thanksgiving, everyone takes a turn saying what they are thankful for. There are sugar cookie cutouts in every shape and size throughout the year. I really do attempt those precious childhood memory-making moments. But almost every time I’m left hot and sweating and biting my tongue and counting the seconds until they can just go off and play ‘Ball Fight’ (which is exactly what it sounds like…four little boys firing any and all balls in the house at one another as hard as possible, usually until someone cries).
Here was tonight’s sweet memory.
Dan was working late tonight and it was one of those rare nights of the week when the rest of us were all home. No soccer or basketball practice. No school or work commitments. With homework done and dinner finished, I thought it would be fun if we all played a game.
Doesn’t that sound fun? Doesn’t that sound like something sweet families do?
The boys chose Parcheesi. And it went about the way you’d imagine.
About 8 seconds into the game I was reminded why I previously vowed to only play a game with one child at a time. A hand or two of Uno with James? Great! A game of Monopoly with Eli on a Sunday afternoon? Sure! Parcheesi with my herd of competitive, testosterone-laden little boys? Not so much.
Parcheesi has two tragic flaws I think. First of all, Parcheesi is similar to Sorry. The point is to move four pawns around the board and into ‘home’ first. Unlike Sorry, however, Parcheesi has some strategy to it. Parcheesi has several complicated rules. Blockades. Ten for getting in home. Twenty for sending another player’s pawn back to start. Fourteen for rolling doubles (but only if all your pawns are already on the board). Three sets of doubles in a row and your furthest player goes back to start. On and on. The other problem with Parcheesi is the pawns are the shape of adorable little animals. Tigers, elephants, camels, and water buffalo.
There was A LOT of arguing about the rules. “That’s not fair!” “You made that up!” “What? That’s stupid!” The noise was deafening. And anytime any one of the 16 tiny animal pawns on the board got close to any one of the others OF COURSE they pretended to fart or poop on one another! Why in the world can’t they just be game pieces???
Lizzy sat quietly next to us in her highchair for about as long as it takes to eat a piece of cheese. After that she screamed “Down!” about every three seconds. Luke was my ‘partner’ for the game meaning he wanted to roll then slowly add up the numbers on the dice then clumsily move that ridiculous little elephant around the board while all of his brothers chirped out their opinions and constructive criticism. James took an early lead so Isaiah and Eli decided to band together against him. They quickly landed one of his pieces back in start and, not surprisingly, he was in tears. Not long after that Eli had two consecutive set backs and he promptly quit the game, knocking over several other pieces as he angrily grabbed his pawns from the board.
I wish I could accurately describe to you how noisy it was.
I sat for most of the game with my fingers partially in my ears to help drown out the noise. I was sweating and I’m sure my blood pressure was through the roof. Every inch of me wanted to flip the entire game…board, dice, stupid miniature animals and all…into the air and shout at the top of my lungs for them to just shut up already and go upstairs to bed!!!
But I didn’t. I bit my tongue. I played on. I patiently waited for Luke to finish our 14 year long turns. I pretended to ignore Isaiah’s constant negativity. True, I was silently counting the seconds until bedtime. But I managed to finish the game.
I lost at Parcheesi. But I’m going to keep trying. And that, my friends, is a mothering win.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 3:13.