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.)