Family Fun?

By: Anne Marie Holloway

It is “family fun night” – and I, for one, am not happy.

Fridays are typically something we Holloways all look forward to. The kiddos wake up on Friday mornings asking what it is we plan on doing after school. Our plans vary from week to week.  Sometimes we haven’t even made plans yet, so we tell the children that it is a “surprise” – and that seems to be enough to get them on their school buses with smiles and giggles.

Game night

Family Fun Night was an impromptu idea I created to cheer up one of my disappointed munchkins who was having some sort of heartache or disappointment which I can no longer recall. Fun Night quickly grew into a weekly tradition. For five years, happy Holloways could always be found each Friday night here in Norton.

Last Friday evening, after we had finished our dinner together and cleaned off the kitchen table, the kiddos and I waited to see what my husband had planned for the evening’s fun and festivities. Typically, our game nights are not overly complicated. We have special snacks and play games such as Charades or our own version of “Win, Lose or Draw.” Sometimes the kids are happy just to play the Wii together or a simple game of UNO, Clue, Twister, or Apples to Apples. Some nights it seems that it does not take very much to make everyone happy.

Except for tonight…

This evening’s game choice was horrifying. My husband had ruined five love-filled years of Family Fun Night with five words:

“Let’s play Star Wars Monopoly!”

Star Wars Monopoly

In all the years we have played together and enjoyed ourselves on Family Fun Night, we have never played this game. EVER.

Why is this – you ask?  Well, aside from being extremely difficult for the two younger of our group to understand or enjoy, I considered this particular game to be a cursed and torturous activity only to be played by wicked and evil people…it’s true, I can prove it.

We have kept this malevolent game tucked away since it was a gift – and a Star Wars collector’s edition at that! But tonight it made its way to my kitchen table in an attempt to ruin my fun. I shook my head and crossed my arms like a two year old about to throw a temper tantrum and glared at my husband.

My children gathered curiously around the Star Wars decorated board. They pushed and fought each other in attempts to grab at the silver figurines they wished to use as their player pieces for the game. They kept protective arms around their money stash – while glaring distrusting looks at each other. It was awful…

I could feel the game come to life as it laughed at me and viciously stole the happy tranquility of my home. The game mocked me as it led me into believing that I could break the consistent cycle of annihilation and poverty that it has cast upon me year after year after year during my childhood. I could feel the game cheer as I purchased the wrong properties, landed on utilities I did not own, and repeatedly got thrown in jail without receiving my $200 paycheck.

In jail - again!After two hours of martyrdom, sad faces, and listening to my husband as the banker and rule keeper, I had enough. I could no longer swallow away the lump in my throat as I watched the transformation of my children, in particular my second child, my oldest son, who began the game as a happy and curious, little eight-year-old boy.  He was now a sullen, dark circle eyed, Gollum-like child.  I would not have the game take its toll on him as it had on me so many years ago.

As the game took all but 20 dollars of my son’s Monopoly money and had just landed him in jail for the tenth time… I decided it was time to act. I abruptly knocked over my recently jailed Chewbacca onto his side and said, “Oh, no! I just died! But the good news is that I have left behind an inheritance!!” With that I handed out all my money and properties to my four mislead, and momentarily lost, babies. My husband looked offended as my four children cheered with delight. I had wanted to pick up Chewbacca and throw him at the banker – but that would not have been very nice, and I play nice.

Afterwards, I left the kitchen to plop myself on the couch with a cup of tea, a blanket, and a good book – smiling as joy and laughter returned to my house once more.

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