So every night during the children's winter vacation, we played games. We played card games like Crazy 8's and Crazy Bridge, and board games like Clue, Scattergories, Sorry, and RISK. One night, we divided in to teams and played Monopoly. We played Monopoly a lot when we lived in Virginia ... usually when the kids had a snow day and we'd be camped inside near the fire. Back then, the kids would substitute the official Monopoly tokens for their own tokens because a Killer Whale is much more intimidating than an old shoe.
But back then, the games didn't last very long because the kids lacked a critical component called "Strategy" and would wind up trading every dollar they have, plus their railroads and Park Place, for a monopoly on something like Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues.
Last week, we divided up so that William and Henry were one team, Charlie and Elizabeth were another, and Carolyn and I were the third. Sadly, the rolls weren't going in the latter teams' favor and we kept landing on Community Chest and/or Chance, which would send us directly to jail, levy a tax, or require a medical co-pay.
Meanwhile, the Gods of Favor were smiling on William and Henry.
When they weren't rolling dice that would take them to an unowned property, that they would quickly purchase, they were landing on Free Parking and taking all the money that our teams had to keep paying in fines and expenses.
Within an hour, they had a monopoly on Pacific, North Carolina and Pennsylvania Avenues and were building houses.
And then hotels.
I've watched and read too many Jane Austen works to the children because William would say in his best attempt at an British accent, "Where shall I construct my next hotel? Pray tell, would it vex you greatly if I put one ... HERE?!"
Eventually, we'd get out of jail and within two rolls, would unavoidably land on the brothers' property. The universe was totally conspiring against us and our little white dice. Still, we laughed and had so much fun - because these moments are totally life and such a perfect example of how things can so often go.
"Seriously, what is wrong with these dice?? ARE THEY BROKEN?!"
Once William and Henry had constructed "Brother Row" Charlie and Elizabeth never made a full lap around the board. Since Charlie had been the banker, his parting gift to me upon his bankruptcy, was to unethically slip us $5K in hopes that we'd have a fighting chance.
Even with the embezzlement, it didn't matter.
What is meant to be, will be.
Note: I did wind up telling William and Henry the truth about how that stack of $500's suddenly showed up in our pile. While it seemed like a hilarious idea at the time, I let the kids know it was really wrong and we need to be honest and lead by example. Sometimes what might seem like a funny or good idea, turns out to be a really bad idea and you can quickly get in over your head.
And if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that we'd never want for greed or the quest for control, to overtake us such that we'd put money or possessions over people.
While it was so easy to take ... integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Whether in a board game - or life - every so often, you aren't going to get the rolls that you want and there isn't much to do about it, except laugh and know when to surrender gracefully. Everyone agreed its best to have "growth opportunities" with family because with a sincere apology, those that genuinely love us - despite our shortcomings - tend to be the most forgiving.
Me being forgiven. Again.
Speaking of family and genuine love, this photo ...
Reminds me so much of this one, when Charlie played Monopoly with Tommy and Diana, who were only 12 and 11 at the time...
You know what they say about apples and trees.