Sharing Moments

Solomon moved his knight quickly. I scanned the board. It couldn’t be. Had my son set a trap for my bishop? Impossible.

I had just taken his rook. A pretty sneaky move. I wasn’t that proud of myself. But I wasn’t that embarrassed either. I mean, Solomon is eight. And I’m 41. So.

“Did you do that on purpose?” I asked Solomon after he moved his knight.

He shrugged.

I had asked him if he wanted me to try to beat him before we started.

“Sure?” he said.

So I was sort of trying. Only sort of paying attention. I was also eating chips. Staring off into space. I do more of that in my forties. I’m writing about starting off into space. And eating chips. Adulthood, baby.

Solomon took my bishop. I put the chips aside and stared at the chess board instead of off into space. A few moves later I was firmly in charge. Solomon is good until he starts playing safely. Moving pieces back instead of forward. General Patton wouldn’t be impressed.

I beat Solomon a few minutes later.

“Checkmate,” I said.

He yelled. Both Solomon and Samson yell when they lose. Loudly. It’s not very polite.

“I wouldn’t be so upset,” I told Solomon, “you played really well.”

He really did. For somebody who is eight.

***

I’m no chess master. Not by a long shot. But I do remember playing chess with my dad. In our dining room in St. Paul. My father taught me how to play, and I loved playing with him. I think Solomon enjoyed playing chess with me, too. When he wasn’t yelling.

Man, my life can feel like a whirlwind sometimes. So many emails. So many things on my schedule. Adulthood this and adulthood that. Give me a bowl of chips, will you?

I like a moment of being with Solomon. Or Samson. Playing chess. Playing Minecraft. Whatever. Just a moment together.

Samson likes to fight me. Our fights are very silly. He stands on one side of the house. I stand on the other. He snarls at me. I snarl at him. Then he says “go!” We charge at each other. I grab onto him. He grabs onto me. I let him throw me to the floor in the sunroom. He gets on top of me and grunts until I tell him he won the fight.

He always wins the fights.

It’s more silly than anything else. But it is a moment.

I like sharing moments with my kids.

***

Have you ever read the Wayside School books?

How’s that for a non sequitur?

I bring them up because we got them for the boys for Christmas. And we’ve been reading chapters before bed.

I remember loving those books as a kid. And I love them as an adult. They are funny. And well-written. The boys are really into them.

I read Solomon a chapter before bed the other night. Tucked in together. Reading in his quiet bedroom. That’s a moment I really liked. My parents used to read to me. I liked those moments too.

So nothing much to say this week, I guess, other than that, in the middle of the sprawling chaos of adulthood, it is nice to share moments with my children. Even if those moments eventually include me losing at chess. I don’t mind losing. No yelling from me.

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