This was written a couple of years ago after spending Thanksgiving in St. Louis. The girls were just shy of their 5th birthday.
We’re at my Aunt Rose’s for Thanksgiving weekend. It’s Saturday morning and we’re hanging out before we hit the road this afternoon. Aunt Rose has lots of board games for her grandchildren. Delaney decides she wants to play the Game of Life. Great. We open it up and set out all the mountains and valleys and schools and churches. I read the instructions (believe it or not, I’ve never played the game before) and we pick out our cars. I read that we have to put representative people in our cars, so we open the bag and, to my amusement, there are only pink and blue “people” pegs. We each take a pink.
The game begins and we both take loans to go to college (‘cause I wouldn’t give her the option of starting a career without going to college), and we stop at the red squares and do what they tell us. Delaney gets to “Get Married.” She takes a Life card and dutifully picks out a blue peg and places it next to her in her red car. A few turns later, I hit the same spot. I pick out a pink peg to put next to me in my yellow car.
“You can’t pick a pink one, you have to pick a blue one,” my daughter tells me.
“No I don’t. I can pick any color I want,” I answer.
“No, you have to pick a boy.”
“I don’t want to pick a boy. I want to pick a girl.”
“But you can’t. You have to play boy/girl. See, there’s the picture.” She points to the picture on the game board of a bride and groom.
“But I don’t want to marry a boy. I don’t marry boys. I’ve never posed for that kind of picture in my life.”
“But it’s the rules.”
“I don’t follow the rules.”
“But it’s the rules of this game.”
“I don’t have to follow the rules of this game, either, if I disagree with them.”
She looks at me.
“Look,” I say, “If I followed the rules, you would never have been born.”
She rolls her eyes, shakes her head, then reaches down and spins the wheel.
What a great game of life lesson.