Mille Bornes

Even today, thirty years later, I remember playing many rounds of Mille Bornes with my family.  Our version was “vintage”, with the original 1962 artwork and style.  Here’s a little preview of the game as I remember it from childhood.

1962 cards, click for more

I picked up the modern version of the game a few years back, hoping to rope my son into playing, being that the car theme would be enticing.  The premise of the game is that you are in a road race, attempting to get a certain distance, using mileage without being waylayed by speed limits, accidents, empty gas tanks, flat tires and stop lights.

Alex and I decided to rally for a game (or two or three) yesterday during Drew’s nap.  It was the first time he attempted to hold his own six cards and play without an adult partner.

A certain someone woke up and decided to observe….

Alex won…aka, I “miscounted” by 25 miles so that he won.  I know I shouldn’t make sure that he always “wins”, entitlement and all, but sometimes, you just fudge the rules–or my ARITHMETIC–a bit.  {I heard you, Billy Clinton}

I love sneaking pictures of these ordinary moments (and the ones of temper tantrums and crying too, just to keep it real).  Alex typically has no clue.  I just keep the camera on the table and sneakily click away while we’re working or playing or chatting.  I love the faces and moments this type of photography captures.  Drew decided to “man” the discard pile.  He kept asking inquisitively about “choo–choos”.  What game about transportation could ever be created without TRAINS in mind, people?!?!?

Before I really realized what was happening, Alex was rocking forward on his chair and face planted into the side of the table.  Shortly thereafter, while getting Mr. Bump to take care of his quickly growing welt, Drew managed to shimmy onto the coffee table and when asked to get down, SAT down….but missed the table and hit the floor, head first.

It is what it is.  A calm afternoon (a rarity), a measurable about of time on a focused activity (another rarity) and two head injuries within two minutes of each other (NOT RARITIES).

We live in this tenuous balance day-to-day.  A world of hazards, remedies and safeties, as Mille Bornes calls them.  We fear the unknown hazards up ahead.  We try to store up remedies to take care of ourselves when the $#*% hits the fan.  We greedily grab “safeties”, promises we can’t be touched by the hazards that could hit at any unknown moment.  And even when we win, even when we get past the finish line, thinking we’re safe, we can still tumble over and knock ourselves silly.  I know for certain that this is the lesson and truth in life that God is trying to get through my thick skull.  Pain and challenges are just part of life.  We can’t predict when and where they’ll hit or strike.  And even God himself isn’t our “safety”.  We don’t cling to the remedy card, believing God’s plan is just to patch us up and save us.  God is so much bigger than that.  I know this in my head.  Most days, I find it hard to believe it truly in my heart to the point I live from that starting point.

So, we’re going to start a little gratitude project at home.  Being the teacher, with or without a job right now, I still couldn’t pass up 25 cent composition journals during Office Max’s Back-to-School sale.  It’s my hope that we can use those, one for each of us, to record some reminders of grace and gratitude.  For Alex, who is starting his own journal journey in kindergarten, he might moan and groan.  Who knows, but I’m ready to give it a go.  The research proves that naming places of thankfulness and gratitude increases our happiness.  And I for one, know that increased happiness wouldn’t be the worst thing.  I’m thinking it might just help me let go of my grip on the hazards and focus on the reality of the here and now.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”     

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(thanks for the quote from Dietrich, Leila!!)

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