Making it to Monday: Life Lessons at Game Night
You are look at this article thinking, aww how sweet . . .
. . . this is going to be a practical and scientific account of how family game night has changed our family dynamic. If that's your goal you'd be mostly right and completely wrong. Family game night happens most often in the middle of the afternoon and it is most often missing the 4-year-old who only enjoys games where blocks tumble or mechanical things shriek. So, we sneak game-night in during her quiet time or after she is in bed for the night.
My big kids are game obsessed. Husband says it's my fault. We play cards while waiting at the doctor’s office, we own 4 different types of monopoly and we have an entire closet dedicated to board games. It's a Lehman family addiction (ok... all of us except Husband, he's not so much a fan). On this particular afternoon we were playing a random game that we got in a Wendy's happy meal a few years ago. Because when you love games you just collect baskets of them just in case they are as amazing as the marketing guys at Wendy's anticipated. I mean if the game was good enough for a Wendy's Kids Meal it's good enough for me... right!?!
This game was perfect for a quick before bed play. It was funny, not too complicated and it was a competition but not the kind where someone (big brother) has an automatic edge. We pulled out a stack of cards. Each card had an activity or a question on it. The first person to complete the questions/activity gets a point. First person to 10 points is a winner!
The game started off easy. "Go find 10 items that are blue." Suddenly the table is littered with a blue folder, paper clip, bowl, toy dog, hair bow... you get the picture.
Next: "Name 3 things that start with the first letter of your first name." Connor: Christmas, Caterpillars, Canopies. Shannon: Sister, Sugar, Sweet tarts.
Next: "Do Jumping Jacks while saying the alphabet” Connor did it backwards for an extra point.
Then perhaps the most fantastic question ever asked in the history of gaming: "Yell out 2 things you are great at."
Connor yells “Spelling and Math!" He's an academic masterpiece and is not afraid to yell about it.
Shannon at full 5-year-old volume and with an expression of complete sincerity hollers “Squirting Ketchup and Putting on Panties!"
The boy and I fall into a heap of hysterical laughter and the game abruptly ends. There is nothing that can even compete with that. This story has been told many times over the last few years. It's always a reminder to celebrate the things we've worked hard for in our lives. Shannon loves ketchup and we drew a hard line early in her life that we will not oversee the ketchup. If she wishes to have it with her meal she is responsible for it, in its entirety. So early in her 5th year she finally mastered the art that is hoisting a Costco sized ketchup bottle from the fridge to the table flip it upside down and not wear most of it. It really was a big deal and she was quite proud of her accomplishment. As for the panties - she says it's just what popped into her head.
Often, as a stay at home mom, I move from one seemingly small task to the next not fully celebrating my accomplishments. It IS a big deal to have every single piece of laundry in the house washed folded and put away. It IS worth celebrating that everyone bit of homework is done, everyone is bathed and in bed on time. Every Single night in my house we must celebrate dinner. Because dinner is a Goliath of a thing. The planning, the shopping, the prepping, the cooking, the serving AND the cleaning. Dinner is a daily project that often takes on a life of its own. Most often in the Springtime when the weather is nice the children are outside, the sports are keeping our evenings busy dinner happens, because it must.
Sure, we should, like Connor, celebrate our natural gifts and abilities. Sure, we should be proud of ourselves for utilizing our talents to the best of our ability. But more importantly we should, like Shannon, celebrate our hard wins. We should shout for joy our hard-won battles and those challenges that seemed impossible but were overcome with sheer will and determination. In my life that is dinner and even dinner, especially dinner, is worth celebrating.