Now that MG is almost 5, and the weather and time have forced our evenings indoors, we’ve started having family game nights a few nights a month.
We clean up the dinner dishes, sit down by the fire, and take turns choosing the game. Sometimes we drink tea and eat something sweet. It’s exactly as I imagined it would be, warm, filled with little laughs, and cozy.
But of course, you have to factor in a 2.5 year old. And that means we are constantly dodging fat little feet and trying to talk over the noise of the noisiest toy she could possibly mash a button on, over and over and over.
Last night was my turn to chose the game and I chose Memory. Princess Memory. I chose it because I really wanted Princess Go Fish but MG sweetly informed me she had thrown it away. “Thrown it away??” Yes, when she and daddy had cleaned out the game trunk a few weeks ago, half of the cards were missing, rendering it useless, of course.
So I chose Memory because it sounded like the next best thing…and…I didn’t really want to play Madeline’s Lost Puppies again.
But even as the thick cards were being spread haphazardly on the floor, I knew I was going to lose. I realized it before the game even started; and as the cards grew in number and the rhombus grew in size, I knew my heart wasn’t in it.
I still tried. And when my turn came, I felt my brain literally swell with mock pain as I tried to burden it with the placement of Princess Aurora in row 2, column 1, and Jasmine somewhere near the bottom of column 6. I played like a three year old. Each turn, seeing the board as a wide open space of possibility and hoping that my random choosing of cards yielded something to get excited about. I played as a pregnant, tired mom of two kids who finds her brain completely encompassed with snack schedules and odd grocery lists, with foods I’m not currently allowed to eat, and that one problem I’m trying to troubleshoot on my sewing project.
I lost of course. I lost pitifully to N who pulled out 16 matches, and can easily compartmentalize a game for a 15-minute short-term brain assignment. And also to the 5 year old who beat me by 1 (who it turns out has a pretty darn good memory but missed a few turns because she had to get water to slay her “sweatiness”).
Sometimes it feels a bit unfair, these things we let go of in the name of motherhood. At this point I don’t know if I’ll ever get my memory, painted toenails, or eyebrows back. But I care about those as little as I do winning a game of Memory right now.
The consolation is the sister who was delighted to take second place (because it wasn’t last place), and the sister who just couldn’t quite keep her curious hands away from our Prince Philip, but stayed in my lap to do so.
I’ve been struggling a bit with my writing this year. The desire is deep, but the words aren’t there. Or the ones that are feel cheap and pointless. I’m attempting to write through the writer’s block and praying that there are beautiful words to pull from, but I’m having trouble accessing them. I do hope this is one thing I don’t have to completely give up in the name of Motherhood, but perhaps, I need to be okay with letting it change with me.