Family Chronicles: Dreary Day, Monopoly; Day before, Sledding

dreary dayYesterday the drippy thaw finally arrived on the east coast. I had said on this blog that I thought snow would be gone by week’s end. Sean read it and disputed that claim. But see the garden towers, shown from the day before, revealed in all their dormant glory by late afternoon on this drippy, yucky day. I bet a foot of snow melted yesterday. Still plenty left.

I took the above photo through the window during our Monopoly game, something we’d been promising Drew for days.

monopoly

Drew loves to get rapacious, at least in theory, games, both on board and internet. But he’s in reality a very sweet kid. So I don’t quite understand the dichotomy inside his 11-year-old head. In any case, Sean and Sue and I played with him. Sean and I both went to jail four times. I managed to get only three properties, and paid rent to the other three at least 20 times. Sue was the one with the luck. Buying up everything she landed on, and then immediately putting houses, then hotels on them. It got so that the rest of us clutched whenever we turned that corner with the free $200. She had both Broadway and Park Place sewed up, along with whatever those purple properties are on the other side. Drew bought lots of stuff, but ended up with no money to put houses and hotels on. I fell first, downed by landing on Broadway. $1400. Just like that. It put me out of the game. Sean was next. Drew was determined to go down second to last. That kid has pluck. We were all laughing, thank goodness. It’s hard to get predatory and stay there, when all you really want is to connect and have fun.

The day before we had done just that. Before a planned dinner with Nancy and Ray here, we went to the ski hill for sledding. Of course it took forever to get going with two squirrely kids glued to their screens, plus all the gear and one of Kiera’s friends. But we finally shoved off.

in carThis time, we went to the Acton Recreational Area, where they play soccer in the spring. The “hill” is the back of an outdoor ampitheater.

Sue and I skiied, with Shadow, around the field. Stopped to watch. Sean barrels down on his boogie board —

Sean sliding

Then the kids. Sean starts back up.
Sean and kids

Sue tells me she no longer enjoys sledding. Too rough and bumpy. Hurts her body too much. I don’t think I’ve sledded since I was a kid. Drew discovered that he could treat the sled like a snowboard, so he’ll probably graduate to that, next (he’s a regular old fashioned skier, so far.) Both Sean and Sue snowboard. They used to windsurf. That changed when they had kids.

Last night, after the Monopoly game where the clear winner is the one that gets the rush of initial luck and then quick, buys, buys, buys, we went out to dinner at a nearby place. I relish this family, the way they are with one another. How much they enjoy being together, doing stuff, whatever it is, including screentime, all together, sitting on both ends with feet back up on both old, scratched, torn leather couches. Oblivious, and yet, still, mysteriously, connected.

I remember when they got those couches, when they were new, before they were married. I remember when Sean hadn’t yet met Sue. In fact, I remember the day, in the car, when he was driving my late husband Jeff and I down to the Cape, having picked us up at the airport for a summer visit. Casually, he said it wasn’t his car, that it belonged to Sue, a friend of his. “She’s down at the Cape. You’ll meet her.”

Well, at that casual mention I about blew a gasket, I was so excited. Sue! He has a girl friend! YES! Of course, I had to pretend it was no big deal.

Up until he was 30 years old, Sean had been the quintessential geek, hunched over a keyboard at Digital Equipment. Sue, who also worked at Digital, had to get him to notice her. It took awhile. Their marriage is rich and strong, and very much graced by the two growing children. Their house is the one all their friends want to come to. I feel blessed to be included in their life for these few days.

Today we plan another family outing, dinner here with a friend, and possibly, an inaugural game of “Settlers of Catan,” another predatory game that I bought for them when Kiera and I were in Cambridge, thinking Drew, especially, would enjoy. But he had to play Monopoly first. Is a creature of habit. Hopefully we can entice him. Sean and I have both studied the rules of the Catan game. I played it once with friends in Bloomington the night before coming east. Hated it, of course, kept forcing the game into non-predatory behavior. Then I went home and the rest of them settled into taking each other’s stuff for points and laughing.

Tomorrow Shadow and I start the long drive back to Bloomington.

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