Friday, May 8, 2009

my stellar scrabble sweetie

My mom taught me to play Scrabble before I can even remember it. I just know that she always treated me like an actual opponent, which made me feel incredibly worthy. I mean, to the point that sometimes I was certain I had her sweating. Of course she'd verify spelling and such, but she never let me win, a principle she inherited from my beloved grandmother. Saintly, but she never let one of her 15,000 grandchildren win at cards.

I was 16 when I finally beat my mom, and like so many triumphs, it was bittersweet. But from that day on we have become the fiercest of competitors, for I know she is the best Scrabble player I've ever known, and she knows that I can beat her.

Recently Mom has taught Reilly to play, and I'd hear that they played a game, and thought it was cute. Then, it started becoming constant. Reilly could never come home on time because they were in the middle of a game, or she would need me to take her over to Gia's to finish a game, and finally, when Reilly spends the night with Mom and I text goodnight at 1am, and ask what she's up to, she says, "We's playin' Scrabble!" I have a strict rule about the kids using proper English, spelling, punctuation, etc., in text, but I always laugh when she texts this. This game is such a thrill for her. It doesn't surprise me, what with the competitive bloodline and all, but what has taken me aback is how motherfucking amazing she is. I will concede that every planet in the solar system aligns when Reilly plays, and she gets the Q, a U, an I, a Z, and a respectable G, O, and R, while Mom is left with the dreaded A, A, U, I, I, I, T, but still, I have seen my mom break 300 points with shit for letters, and Reilly may have be sitting on a gold mine, but obviously her vocabulary can't rival Mom's yet. Anyway, Reilly's been reading the dictionary, lugging it around, studying short Q words that don't require a U (ie-QAT, and Egyptian tree), Z words, etc. And it finally happened: She beat my mom. Fair and square. Eight years old. Perhaps Mom got a trifle complacent, perhaps she had seven I's, perhaps Reilly has memorized the dictionary, I don't know, but she won, and today while she is at work with her dad, I made her this certificate. I'm so proud of this kid:

(I happened to have some Scrabble embellishments from my scrapbooking days.)


Hennifer said...

While not really competitive, some of my fondest memories are of learning/playing games with my grandmother.

It is so nice that your mother and Reilly have such a close relationship and in case you don't know it... the certificate kicks ass!

stone hunter said...

She can do amazing things with crappy letters too sometimes, lining up two or three words in one shot. She's a natural, and rarely far behind even when I win.