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in the game

We play dozens of games when we get together with Joy and the kids. We play Mario in our jammies; we pull out cribbage once Ally and Jack go to bed.

Mario in our jammies

If we’re lucky enough to have extra grown-ups on hand we play banana rummy and up & down the river.

grown up games

Splat is one of our favorites. Who wouldn’t relish squishing bugs on a game board?


This weekend we pulled out a game I hadn’t played before. In Labyrinth, each player alters the game board with every turn. You navigate the changing landscape in search of one treasure at a time.


At first I stared steadily at the game board, planning my next move, but I quickly realized the futility of this strategy. When the board is constantly changing, it’s better not to plan too far ahead. Not only did my plans invite disappointment; they also made it harder to see alternative routes.

After a couple frustrating rounds, I began to love the game. Instead of staring at my own placement on the board, I enjoyed watching everyone else puzzle out their paths.

Jack figures it out

I helped David make lunch. I savored my sandwich. I thought about life, which is a lot like Labyrinth. We’ve been working on job applications; tossing around hypothetical plans for our future. Meanwhile the game board is in constant flux.

Once you reach the first treasure, you look at the next card in your pile and head off for something new. After you gain all five treasures in your stack, you navigate back to the place where you started.

puzzling it out

There will always be a new treasure to hunt, I told myself. The job, the house, the relationship, the creative project. When it’s time to make a move, think it out carefully, but don’t spend every moment planning. Watch the people you love. Enjoy the grilled cheese. Life doesn’t get any better than this.