Trips home to Massachusetts always mean family fun. There is time spent running around with the nieces -- literally -- we play chase in the house and do things they would get into trouble for if I wasn't the one 'supervising.' There is a lot of talking and laughing, pajama parties, and board games. My mom, sister, oldest niece and I (in total and in various combinations), engage in Scrabble matches. Sometimes we huddle around the dining table to make a jigsaw puzzle.
After this year's family feast for Thanksgiving, held on Saturday for scheduling ease, we convened at the dining room table for a game of Scrabble. My niece set the board up, and while waiting for Mom and Sis, we got silly with my cell phone's camera and practiced our "game faces." After one match, we decided to play a different game. The niece suggested Yahtzee, but I asked for a game that "required thinking." Monopoly was vetoed because it takes too long. The game that was finally pulled from the closet was Word Yahtzee -- a game with dice marked with letters and certain combinations that must be made -- like three letter word, six letter word, all vowels. I thought it would be fun because I love word games.
Oddly, the game chosen in place of Monopoly (which would take too long) took about as long as the most drawn out game imagineable from the folks at Parker Brothers. Our Word Yahtzee marathon took forever -- for one game. After 45 minutes, we were barely a fourth of the way into the score sheet and understood why the brand-new looking game cost a mere 50 cents in a yard sale. At the one hour mark, we were plotting its demise as a donation to the next church flea market. We are not quitters, however, so we played to the end.
As un-fun as the actual game was, we laughed the whole time we played. We made fun of the rules. We mocked my choice in game. We laughed at our leftover pizza. We forgot to take the leftover dinner salad in from the back porch and it risked freezing, so when Butch got home and wanted dinner, we laughed over having eaten his pizza and frozen his salad. That turned into one of those silly times where the three so-called adults were laughing to the point of tears, and the 11-year old was looking at us like we were totally nuts. Which, of course, made us laugh even more. The child may be scarred for life.
These are moments for which I am thankful. These are the family moments I miss by living 1,200 miles away. But it is the rarity of them that makes them even more special for me.