Checkers Maniac

New Year’s Eve.

Strobe lights and sweaty bodies dancing.

Empty beer bottles and smashed cigarettes.

A blaring band and crowded bar.

Nope…this wasn’t my New Year’s Eve, not this year any way. Actually, I haven’t had one like that in a long time…and probably wont for quite a while. It’s okay. I don’t really miss it. I have so much fun hanging out with the kids and watching the ball drop on tv and banging on pots and pans at midnight and waking up the neighbors.

One of my favorite parts of waiting for the new year is playing games. This year I taught Bradley how to play Checkers. He is addicted. He is a Checker’s maniac now. That’s all he wants to do. And if he can’t find anyone to play with him, he plays against himself.

He got a Lightening McQueen Checkers game this year. We lined up all the black and white pieces and put Lightening McQueen stickers on them to get started.

I briefly explained the rules.

“Okay. The first game I will help you so you get the hang of it,” I told him.

He got the hang of the game quickly. The second game he kicked my ass… and I was kind of trying.  

I have found my Checkers match.

“Okay, kid,” I said, taunting and teasing him. “I think you have the hang of this game. You kicked my butt! No breaks for you this time,” I told him.

I bragged to everyone how quick he caught on and how I have such a smart kid. It was amazing to see his six-year-old little brain planning strategies and ways to trap my guys.

“Mom, I don’t think. I just KNOW where to move them,” he said.

And yes, my six-year-old son kicked my butt AGAIN in Checkers. And I was really trying. I had no kings, wasn’t even close, and the little stinker double jumped me!

“It’s on!” I said. “Let’s play again.”

Of course he was up to it. He was in his glory.

This game I caught him. I surrounded him with kings. He knew any which way he moved I had him.

He laid his tired head on the table. It was only ten o’clock, but that is late for him. I kind of started feeling sorry for him, glossy blue eyes and big lashes pushing back tired and defeated tears.

But I couldn’t let him win every game. Isn’t that the point of playing games with your kids? It should be a learning experience.  You can’t always win them all and you have to be a good sport and play your best.

The board was set up in my favor, my kings awaiting his next move. He reluctantly moved his piece. I quietly jumped it. “Good game, hunny,” I told him.

He was obviously not happy.

He won the next and last game, I made sure of it without being too obvious. Building up confidence is good also.


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