Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Candy Land

My mother has passed on many things to me over the years. A small list of them being her laugh, her wit, her love of writing, her love for over-doing special occasions, her "Snickers commercial behavior" when she is hungry, and her hatred of board games.

Oh, how I hate playing board games. And oh, how my children absolutely love them.
The thing is, they don't seem like they love them when they are playing them. I used to watch those commercials that advertised family game nights, and everyone in them was laughing, and hugging, and involved---That is not what game time looks like in my house.
Each child is arguing over what game we should play, and what color game piece each person should have, and who should get to go first--- And all that is before we start to define the winner and loser. That's when it gets really special.
Oftentimes, I intentionally throw the game so that the crying child doesn't feel totally defeated. (Which, if you can imagine, is pretty difficult to do when you are popping the stupid ball in Trouble.) It's hard to play a game and know you are going to be the loser. In some games, it is revealed at the very beginning that you are just going to get stomped. I always make my kids play through to the finish line anyway, because I figure it teaches them lessons about being a gracious loser and never giving up. Or maybe I just secretly wish that it sucks the fun out of board games so much that they won't want to play them anymore. (Practicing my evil laugh now...) But then there are those games where you think you are going to do the stomping, you are two spaces away from the finish line, and then you get bumped back to the beginning.

I hate board games. But I loathe Candy Land.

Here you go, travelling along every child's fantasy world with your creepy gingerbread-kid pawn, getting stuck in ooey-gooey gumdrops and sliding down ice cream ski slopes until you reach King Kandy's castle--whom I can only assume is the widower of the Hansel and Gretel witch. Sometimes you make it through the lollipop forest with nary a scratch. But usually, (because this is the pure evil of the game,) you find yourself four spaces away in need of the double yellow and BAM! You get the cupcake card. Back to the beginning you go.
Now, I have two younger children, so I pretty much start this game each and every time with a prayer that I am the one that will wind up with the cupcake card. But apparently, God also wants my babies to learn lessons about being gracious losers and never giving up...

Lord knows it is a lesson I am still learning myself.

Before our first Army move out of central Texas, I was a substitute teacher with dreams of becoming a classroom teacher. That career goal has shifted slightly over the years along with our address. But five years later, I find myself back in central Texas fresh out of a substitute teaching job.
As much as I hate to say it, it's hard not to feel like I got the cupcake card.

Now I don't know if any of you readers out there are as fortunate as I am and have had the opportunity to read up on exactly what the cupcake card represents. Well chin up, because today is your lucky day!
The cupcake card takes you to the Cupcake Commons, where you get to decorate cupcakes and take bicycle rides on the candy trail. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Now sure, it might not be quite as exciting as snowboarding down an ice cream mountain, but it is still good, wholesome fun.

Sometimes getting booted back to start isn't all that bad. (Maybe it's not as exciting as skiing down the Austrian Alps, but it's central Texas, for Pete's sake! So it's still pretty darn good!)

Even so, it's hard not to wonder why with all of the cards in the deck, you ended up with the cupcake.

Sometimes we get sent back to start so we can learn to be gracious losers and never give up. Sometimes we get sent back to start as an opportunity to redo the things that we whirred past the first time. And sometimes we get sent back to start to re-evaluate where we've been and discover how to blaze new trails.

Something tells me my cupcake card is due to a combination of the three. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I have discovered the reason that I continue to suffer through these horrible board games with my children is because they look like this when I tell them I will play with them:

Here's hoping my next card is the bonbon!