I was minding my own business…wiping counters and sweeping crumbs. Words swirled around in my brain as though they were begging me to sit down with my laptop and let them all spill out. I was anxious to get the younger kids settled for the night when Ella, our youngest, issued her request: “Mommy? Will you play one quick game of ‘Sorry!’ with me before I go to bed.”
I’m not gonna lie or pretty this up for my blog. Those were the very last words I wanted to hear. When I started homeschooling a few years ago, I had to set a new standard for myself–make it to 7:30pm with some of my sanity intact and ride that wave till they’re all tucked in. You see, I’m surrounded by these people for all the hours. I fulfill every request, cater to [most] whims, and listen to all the words. I adore my children. I love my life. I wouldn’t change it or have it any other way. But, most nights, after 12+ hours of this, I crave one thing and one thing only–silence. The kind of silence that comes when all their words stay bottled up in their brains for at least 8-10 hours. While some moms have wonderful, elaborate bedtime routines that involve story books, games, giggles, snuggles, songs, and butterfly kisses; this mom, does not. When bedtime arrives at the Crabb Shack, I have exactly enough energy left to pray, give kisses and hugs, and turn out the light.
When Ella popped the question, I was ready to get the show on the road, not stop for a detour. But…the look of anticipation on her face….what can I say? I’m a sucker. It took a few minutes to convince her we’ve been playing too much ‘Sorry!‘ lately and ‘Monopoly Jr.‘ was probably getting jealous and a little bit sad. In no time, we were setting up lemonade stands and passing out money. By the time our game was over, Nate and Sophie were begging me to play “just one game” with them, too. So, after tucking Ella in, Round 2 commenced. Thirty minutes later, I was kissing those two goodnight and feeling like I was finally off the hook. The words I had been dying to write for what felt like hours were right on the tips of my fingers when Jimmy came into the kitchen with a mischievous smile on his lips. He (the kid who had informed me TWO times already that he “stopped liking Monopoly Jr. when [he] was 6 years old”) had been in the other room listening as I played with the others and decided we should play “just one game…just the two of us….for old time’s sake.” Before I knew it, I was dividing up lemonade stands and green $4 bills for the third time that night.
Somewhere between being sent to lunch and spending $2 for more lemons, I began to see the beauty in what was happening at our kitchen table. Maybe it was watching Ella’s competitive side come out as she joyfully removed my lemonade stand from Summer Street and replaced it with her own. Maybe it was Sophie subtracting to make change for Nate quicker than she does every morning on her math drills. Maybe it was the clever way Jimmy decided to pay me every red cent he owed me in $1 bills for the entire duration of our game. I’m not sure whether there was an exact moment, or whether it was simply the giggles and cheers that three rounds of Monopoly Jr. brought out of us. But somewhere in the midst of all of it, the words I had planned to write tonight grew less and less important. I was less anxious to call it a night, and more anxious to keep them awake so we could make one more memory before the day ended.
Just because we are together all day, every day, it doesn’t mean that all my time with them is always quality time. Math, Science, and Writing are all important things, but they’re not the most important things. Perhaps the most important thing is that–when it comes to making memories we will treasure for a lifetime–a little Monopoly Jr. goes a long way.