This evening Rachel, Miriam, Andrew and I played all four rounds of Hand and Foot in one sitting, something we've never managed before (with them...Andrew and I have played several complete games of Hand and Foot without them, usually with Reid and Karen). We ran a little past midnight and the girls were certainly getting a little loopy, but it was fun to get to spend time with them as big kids.
At one point Andrew stopped and cocked his head as if listening (because he was, indeed, listening).
"Ah, that's the wind," he said. "I thought it was raining."
"It is raining," we all told him.
"It's not," he said. "It was raining earlier today but it's just windy now."
"It's definitely raining," Rachel said. "Look at the deck. It's wet."
"Because it was raining all day. But it's not raining now."
"But it is raining now," I told him.
"It's just windy."
"I'll ask Alexa," Miriam offered. "Alexa—what's the weather?"
"In Peachtree Corners it is raining..." Alexa began in her robotic voice.
"Well, I'm glad we had to check the weather rather than just looking out the window," Andrew scoffed.
"Ummmm..." The rest of us stared at him like he was acting crazy (because he was, indeed, acting crazy). "We are all looking out the window."
"I'm looking out the window, too, and I say it's not raining."
He wouldn't believe us until we opened the back door and found that—lo and behold—it was raining.
It was a pretty silly evening and those are nice to have every once in a while. Oh, also, I won (doubled Andrew's score even)!
I played Scrabble earlier in the day with the girls. I won that game as well. In fact, when I asked the girls if they wanted to play they both said yes and then after I left the room, Miriam harrumphed to Rachel, "Come on, let's go play Scrabble with Mom so that she can win and feel good about herself."
That's not why I play Scrabble with my kids. I play Scrabble with my kids to make them better Scrabble players. I love Scrabble because I have fond memories of playing Scrabble with my mom. Her mom enjoyed Scrabble as well.
Even earlier in the day I played memory with Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander (and didn't win a single round). Benjamin and I also worked on some Gravity Maze puzzles and then (once he seemed to really be getting the hang of things) I played Hoot Owl Hoot with Zoë and Alexander.
Due to the rain, it was a long day of staying inside and playing games, which was nice. We don't always take the time to simply play with each other, so I was grateful for a day when we could do just that.
I'm thankful for my game-loving brother, David, who keeps us all informed about the best games to play and who has never come for a visit without packing a fun game or two (or twenty) along. I'm thankful for all the hours he spent playing games with me when we were younger. We didn't have a large collection of games growing up, but I do remember playing Careers with him so much. At Grandma and Grandpa Layton's house we'd usually play The Game of Life (I was always impressed with his bravery at getting into the game closet because I didn't ever feel like I could touch anything in their house without getting in trouble). Grandma and Grandpa Conrad had some interesting games as well—Clue was one I remember playing in the basement once, though I don't know if that was my Grandma's or if David brought it from home. He was always pulling out old games and figuring out how to play them and was patient enough to teach me, too, so he could have someone to play with (even though I don't have nearly as much patience for games as he does (I mean, I like games but I also...eventually want them to end)).
I'm thankful for memories of playing UNO for family night, of laughing over a game of Malarky, of screaming "CORNER ON THE MARKET!" while playing pit with our cousins, of quieter evenings playing Boggle with Grandma Conrad, of Grandpa Conrad showing off his amazing aim in Crokinole, of endless rounds of Spit with David and Abra, of the darling "animal families" memory game we used to have. Monster Mash and Mouse Trap and Yahtzee and Slap Jack and Missionary Impossible and Mille Borne and Rummikub and Domiones and Triominoes and Quiddler...
We had a lot of fun playing games growing up—in spite of the competitive spirit and inevitable tears, we learned how to win and lose and play with grace and dignity. I hope my kids are cultivating good memories while learning those same things.
Just tonight Miriam started crying when I went out early in a round—but not really because I had two red books and black book when what I needed was two black books and a red book; it had been a while since we played, so I felt a bit like Grandpa, asking, "How do you play this game again?" and then smashing everyone. Once I'd realized my mistake, we picked up our hands again and continued the game. No one seemed to mind having to keep playing since I had really cut them all off at a bad time...except not really because they all got to keep playing!
Anyway, the following round Miriam really did go out early, leaving a lot of us in bad shape. She gloated a little bit (and it really helped her—she ended up getting second place) and then we gently reminded her that when the roles were reversed she had cried and cried about being stuck with a big hand (all of which would have counted against her score...if I had indeed gone out, which...I didn't because I forgot the rules of the game). "If you can dish it out," we prompted her.
"I have to be able to take it," she sighed (and stopped bragging).
It was a fun evening.
I'm grateful for games and for the conversations they bring and the memories they help us make, but I'm more grateful for wonderful people I've been privileged to play with in my life.