Archive for June, 2013

The “What I Like About…” Game

"In Christ" by Garnet Goldman

“In Christ” by Garnet Goldman

This column first appeared in the May 2013 issue of Forsyth Family Magazine:

When I saw someone reading a picture book to some kindergarteners the other day, it dawned on me that it had been ages since I had read a picture book to Sparkle Girl and Doobins.

That got me thinking about how things drop out of your life without you really taking note of it at the time. For a long time, I read a picture book to them pretty much every night. Even on nights when I made up – rather than read – the bedtime story, chances were good that I had read a picture book to them earlier in the day.

If it had been “who knows how long?” since I had a read a picture book to them, there had to be a day when I did it for the final time. But, on that day, I certainly didn’t say to myself, “Well, this will be the last time.” I just read a story. The next day I didn’t. I didn’t read a story the day after that either and now here we are. Reading picture books is no

That, in turn, got me thinking about other activities that we once relished that we no longer do together. When Doobins was quite little, he and I used to poke around on the computer looking for photographs of exotic undersea creatures. You ever see a picture of a gulper eel? During the Card Playing Era, the four of us would play Go Fish when Doobins wanted to participate. (He always won.) If he didn’t want to play that night, Garnet, Sparkle Girl and I would play Rummy.

For a long time, we played games whenever we walked the dog around the block. If everyone went on the walk, we might play “What I Like About…” – a game in which one person is It and everyone else takes turns saying what they like about the person. When it was time to end the game, we would have the Big Finish round and everyone would say one last thing.

With just two people, the game didn’t have quite the same snap so, when it was just Sparkle Girl and me going around the block, we might play “Would You Rather…?” – a game in which you set up two possibilities and each person made a choice. If you had to eat the same thing for breakfast every day, would you rather eat a banana that’s not ripe or a mushy apple? Would you rather put chocolate on a hot dog or mustard on a cupcake?

It makes sense that, as Sparkle Girl and Doobins got older, reading picture books and going deep-sea hunting dropped by the wayside. But I think we just forgot that playing cards can be a fun way to pass the time. So, the other night, I asked Sparkle Girl if she wanted to play Rummy. Sure, she said. She pulled out a crisp deck of cards with a photograph of Audrey Hepburn on the back. “Where did you get those?” I asked. “You and Mom gave them to me for my birthday.”

Ah. I made a mental note to pay better attention next time Garnet showed me what she had picked out for one of the kids and shuffled the deck. Recently, Sparkle Girl took up baking, and, if we ever play “What I Like About…” again, when Sparkle Girl is It, I am going to say “What I like about Sparkle Girl is those wonderful pineapple/banana/walnut cupcakes she makes.” And, when Doobins is It, I’m going to say, “What I like about Doobins is that time I didn’t know whether there was going to be any hot water left after Sparkle Girl took a shower, and, as I headed toward the bathroom, he called out, “Cover me, boys, I’m going in.”