Before Netflix and other streaming services, in the days when there were only three or four stations and we had to get up and walk over to the television to change the channel, my two brothers and I were forced to amuse ourselves. When the weather was good, we were gone on our bicycles until my Mom yelled for us for dinner. When the weather was bad, we fought with each other all over the house in a round-robin of two against one. Occasionally, though, we played board games. When my two sons were young, we planned to play board games more often than we actually did. Since they’ve gotten older, I’ve sometimes regretted the missed opportunity to hang out with them when they still enjoyed my company more than anyone else’s or even at all. The stay at home order gave me another chance.
My younger son had the Monopoly unboxed and set up on the dining room table before he raised the subject during a lull in my drawer organizing mission. It was my attempt to gain some feeling of control during this crisis. If he hadn’t been thusly prepared, the delay between me saying yes and me actually playing the game might have become permanent. I had more dressers in need of organization. He had overcome the obstacle before I could throw it in his path. Props to him.
Since it’s always more fun to play Monopoly with more than two people, we co-opted my older son and their father to play with us. My husband was convinced as long as we all agreed to play for no more than 30 minutes in a sitting. He set the alarm on his phone. This turned out to be the perfect amount of time. We stopped while we were all still having fun and wanted more. It wasn’t a lack of faith in one another, but each of us took a photo of the board where we left off.
I should mention the Monopoly set with which we were playing was the Stranger Things edition. Other than my younger son, we were playing in the dark. I was familiar with houses and hotels, but not with hideouts and forts. I had no idea why Walkie-Talkie and Blinking Lights had replaced Community Chest and Chance cards.
I could blame the ubiquity of credit cards or the integration of Apple Pay into our daily lives, but our simple math skills were pretty rusty. It took all four of us to figure out how to make change from a $500 bill for an $18 rent payment. Other than that, it was fun to PLAY with my family. Although we were competing for bragging rights only, they will far outlast the current crisis.