In New York for a family wedding, we snuck in a visit with our daughter as well, a stolen 48 hours or so woven through the festivities. During a lull, while my husband went down to the pool, Emma and I stayed in the cool of our hotel room and broke out a fresh pack of cards.
While we played rounds of ten-hand Gin, she recalled playing rounds of similar games when she was young: a few quick games of Go Fish! or Steal the Old Man’s Bundle while we waited for the camp bus or carpool, and later Gin marathons after school. Back then we also played a great card game called Set* whose design principles she uses to this day.
Playing cards with Emma, I was reminded of the days when I chauffeured her hither and yon. Both activities share two similarities that lead to a vital third. First: you’re not exactly looking at each other. Second: you’re focused on a goal (getting somewhere vs. building a winning hand). Third and most important: not looking at one another coupled with the distraction of trying to get somewhere leads to great conversations. Over the weekend’s rounds of shuffling and dealing, drawing and laying down ever-changing combos of suits, we talked and talked and talked: fashion and finances, friends and family. Our conversations roamed over topics both laden and light. During the Father’s Day weekend, as we built our runs of reds and blacks, we talked about the qualities I saw in her dad that blinked in metaphorical neon “good father material.” She shared the kinds of qualities that are important to her in a future spouse.
Asking me about what she was like as a child, and how I handled the ups and downs of her stages of growth, I know she was not only asking about my own turn at motherhood, but imagining her future turn as well. Closing in on 26, she can look back and remember herself as a teen, a time when the hands dealt her were often a jumble of mismatched pairs and incomplete runs. She is old enough to envision the kind of future she wants for herself, building a hand composed of career, marriage, family, travel and more. Like any parent, I pray life will deal her a fair hand, and that she draws what is valuable, and quickly lays down that which no longer fits.
* If you research this link, know that we just played the game, oblivious to its mathematic implications!
A Note from Debra Darvick
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Up for more voices? You’ll find dozens in the stories in my book, This Jewish Life, Stories of Discovery, Connection and Joy. Fifty-four voices, each telling their own story, unite to portray a year’s worth of Jewish experiences, celebrations, holidays and more.