Five years ago my husband and I decided to throw a housewarming party. It was nearly a year after we’d moved into the house, but we had been updating it so we wanted to wait until all the rooms at least had floors. Also we are lazy. Still, I wanted to get the housewarming in before a whole year had gone by, so I looked at the calendar to see what holidays were coming up. The nearest “occasion” was Groundhog’s day, and thus a tradition was born.
Every year in early February we invite our friends, most of whom live an hour away, to our house to feast upon BBQ food and to play games. In my e-mail invites I call it the annual Groundhog’s day feast & festivities. For the first three years, we played social video games like Rock Band and Wii Sports. Last year we added board games because I had discovered, with the help of my husband and a college-level games class, that the world of board games extended into decidedly more interesting territory than anything made by Parker Brothers. So in addition to the usual fare, we had several rounds of Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Munchkin and the like. While Rock Band has its charms, pound for pound I like the board games better, and I wish we had more opportunity to play them.
I say that because this year our games party didn’t include many games. What it did include was kids. Kids, kids, and more kids! When we first held this party five years ago, there were no kids. Zip, zero, nada. This year there were seven kids in attendance, including our little bundle of joy, the youngest of the young. There were eight adults to go with those seven kids, but the kids were running the show. I had doubted my ability to focus on any games this year, knowing I’d have to be watching my daughter, but I hadn’t considered the same would be true for most everyone else. It was interesting to watch all the adults trying to interact. Eyes were scanning the room following wandering children. Conversations were interrupted, stories were left hanging – to be continued after meltdowns had been contained. And the noise. Lordy mama, the noise. I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call the cops, and we weren’t even playing any music. Any year previous to this one, including ones where I was a child myself, all the commotion would have annoyed the snot out of me. But this year it just seemed like life. My new life, my new club.
Really the only game that was played was a Kinect version of Fruit Ninja, and that was played by the bigger kids. As the kids grow older we’ll be able to include them in more of the games so the party’s theme will remain in tact. Even if the house does not.