I am one of those people that isn’t technically an only child but pretty much grew up as one for a grand chunk of my formative time. See, I am 9 years older than my sister. Thus growing up, I always was at the center of my mother’s attention. Every day we sat and did my homework together. Every weekend we played together and recorded our own “variety” show. I was a bit of a performer but only for my mom and in statewide competitions. I was a storytelling champion at one point.
What was fun about being an only child for a part of my childhood was that we would play games all the time. We played Connect 4, Mastermind, Boggle, tic-tac-toe, Operation, Trouble, and a bunch of other ones. I became a master Connect 4 player. Throughout most of these games I won and I won handily. When I was 8 or so, I entered a letter writer context where I professed a deep wish to have a sibling. I won on all counts. I won the contest and got a Toys ‘R Us giftcard and I got a sister. Till this day I remember very clearly walking through the Toys ‘R Us aisles in grand awe and happiness. You have to understand that in itself that it is exciting and then couple that with the fact that I had grown up so extremely poor that gifts for christmas were never very plentiful back then. That moment in that store meant everything to me at that time. I can still even smell it.
I bought the memory game and my mom, bless her heart, played with me over and over again. I didn’t tire of it for months. I loved that game and I felt so smart playing it. I indeed was smart-gifted nonetheless-, but that is besides the point. I loved playing that game with my mom. Those moments are still dear to my heart and go to the heart of my memories of my mother. She was my companion, my playmate and my mom.
Fast forward a couple of decades and here I am watching my son play Memory. He loves this game. Of course, the modern version that he has is the one of the Sonic-based Memory. Every night at 7pm while we sit to watch Jeopardy, he also wants to play memory. He is good at it He almost always wins. I smile as he counts the number of cards that he has. That joy is what I hope he will take forward with him as he grows up and ages. Who knows what form of Memory -the game- will exist in 20 years. Perhaps they will play it by swiping items in the air as they peer through some kind of visor. Regardless of method, the joy, the bond and the sense of security that children have while playing these childhood games cannot be undervalued. My happiest childhood memories come from beating my mom at Connect 4. I was such a gleeful smartypants!