Can We Just Play?

Alison Lee essays

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I was always the Top Hat. My sister was the Boot. My brother chose the Car, of course. I would be the Banker too. I liked being in control, handling money. I loved the handing out of the paper money. Adored the little green ‘house’s, the red ‘hotels’. I thrilled at the anticipation of seeing what Chance or Community cards brought.

My heart, a beat quicker when my little hat landed on property that hadn’t been bought, checking to see if I had the ‘funds’ to purchase it. A sigh of relief each time I passed Go and collected another $200. And with the end of each game, always, “One more! One more!”

Tea. Ate. Eat. Meat. Tame. Mate. Date. Dame. Made. Dream. Dreams! Words, words, more words. Always looking for the elusive 5 or 6-letter word. Writing down the 3 and 4-letter words quickly.
Glancing frantically at the hourglass, the sand moving through impossibly fast.

I remember the tiles the most. Smooth. Letters slightly faded from many sweaty fingers. The green tile rack, angled carefully to prevent sneaky peeks at my letters. That satisfaction of finding a place for that perfect word. Carefully, tiles on the board. To this day, still a little obsessive about those little tiles sitting squarely in its place. And the two letter words (Qi? Xi? Who uses these words in real life?) they always came in handy.

Monopoly. Boggle. Scrabble, how I miss you. The rainy days when we were kept indoors, you occupied us. Kept restless minds from making trouble. Taught us to count, learn new words, perfect our spelling, be quick on our feet.

We grew up, played computer games and packed you away.

What is it about becoming a parent that brings back certain childhood memories, and make you want to relive them with your children? I have plans to relive Monopoly, Boggle and Scrabble. Family Game Night. We'll order pizza, clear the dining table, turn off all electronic devices, and break out the board games.

We will learn about taking turns, cheering each other on, try not to cheat, be good sports. We will learn to count money, to figure out what things cost, and how to hold back, or go ahead and splurge. We will learn letters and words. We will discuss the complexity that is the English language—if the plural of house is houses, why is the plural of mouse mice and not mouses?

The world as we know it now is full of blinking lights of televisions, phones, tablets; of instant news and immediate gratification. Can we slow down? Can we just be in the moment? Can we be together, all of us, at full attention? Can we just play?

Want to read more from Alison? You can find more of her here!

About the Author

Alison Lee

Alison Lee is the co-editor of , a , and publisher. A former PR and marketing professional, Alison’s writing has been featured in Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, BonBon Break and Club Mid. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends (Fall, 2014), and has an essay in another, So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood (Summer, 2016). She is also an editor at BonBon Break. Alison lives in Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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