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An 18 year learning curve

Submitted by Kay Helbling

Some things I guess it takes 18 years to learn. I realized that this week, when my son asked the simple question, “Do you want to play Risk?”

You see, as all moms and dads learn upon the birth or adoption of each child, you acquire the ability to [1]question everything you say and do that could impact who they become as a person. You see and read about all the great things others do for and with their children and think, “Maybe I should do that too”, or “If I don’t do that maybe our family will be missing something important”. I guess you could call it “Keeping up with the Jones’… Family Life”.

“Game Night” was just one of those things. I’d hear about people setting aside one night each week to play a game because quality time activities are critical to a healthy, happy family. But, I just couldn’t see it happening in our schedule. It’s not that we didn’t play games. We did and often and had great fun doing it, but I just couldn’t make it a weekly scheduled event. So, it was added to my list of “was it one of those things I simply should have done for my family?”

Eighteen years later that question has been answered with my (now college age) son’s simple question. You see, it dawned on me that over the years, whenever I or one of the boys would suggest we play a game, it was at a time we were feeling the need to simply relax, fill a time of boredom, or needed to feel close to people we loved. In any case, we were there for each other to fill the particular void.

Eighteen years later we all know that we have a family that can still fill voids and who are ready at a moment’s notice to pull out the dice and the armies and do battle…on many fronts…and those times don’t come with a schedule.

### -Kay was an insurance executive for 15 years, a teacher for 10, and has been a mother of two boys for 18 years. She is now looking forward to entering empty nest time this fall with her best friend—her husband.