Sometimes, when you are a parent, you are required to step out of character and do something above and beyond the call of duty. Something bizarre that you’re sure would never happen if you didn’t have children. Children make life adventurous for that reason.
My college-aged son decided to come home for three days. That was unusual enough. He usually avoids long stretches of time with his parents because we might force him to tell us what’s going on in his life lately. This weekend was different, however. His financial ends were in danger of not meeting and we are his virtual ATM. He also needed his brakes fixed and needed his Dad to walk him through that… again. To be fair, I think fixing cars is a bonding ritual for the male of the species. That, and the releasing of gas while watching sporting events.
My son also had a homework assignment to design a board game and was shocked to find that poster board did not come with his apartment. I’ve never been happier to have collected an entire roomful of art supplies. “See,” I said to my husband, sarcastically, “Good thing I didn’t throw any of that stuff away, huh?” He gave me that dubious, raised-eyebrow look that said, “He could make a board game with a piece of poster board and a set of markers. With what you have collected, he could make a full-size space shuttle.” Some of the pieces my son wanted to make for the game needed wood and something to cut that wood, which happily, my husband has stashed in the garage, just in case someone ever needs to make a board game… or a space shuttle.
My son had typed out the rules for the game already. He gave us each a copy and instructed us to read them so that we knew what was needed without his having to explain. Clearly, he was trying to bond with us. I started reading and I realized that his game was all about surviving a zombie attack. Fabulous. Why couldn’t it be a race-around-the-track-and-try-to-send-the-others-back kind of game: All primary colors and fun? Nope. We spent hours discussing just how much blood and gore could be on the box to still be considered a family game and why “undead” doesn’t actually mean “live.”
There had to weapons in this family game as well. A rope, a revolver… “Oh, I know!” I cried. “A candlestick!”
My husband and my son looked at me as if I was one brick shy of a full load and sadly shook their heads. “A lead pipe?” I muttered.
They suddenly looked up like there may be some hope for me yet. Why? I don’t know. There’s not that much difference between a lead pipe and a candlestick, after all. Men…
The name of the game proved to be an interesting challenge as well. I, being the resident wordsmith, came up with everything I could think of that would have something to do with surviving a zombie attack. Admittedly, I hadn’t had all that much experience in that area but I got out my Thesaurus and started spitting out one-word titles: “Sanctuary” “Attack” “Redemption” “Undead” “Brain-Eaters.”
“Too boring,” my son said. “Yeah, ‘cause zombie attacks need to be more exciting,” I said. He said it needed to have a humorous bent to it. “ I got it!” I said, “How about, Got Brains?”
He took me off that particular work detail and reassigned me to a stack of card stock and the rotary cutter . My son made the board, the pieces, the cards and the box with two irrepressible parents and three exuberant siblings putting in their two cents. He should get an A just for that.
It was a surreal weekend. I learned more about zombies and how to survive an attack than I ever wanted to know. Now, I’ll be prepared should the earth ever be invaded by undead flesh-eaters. My son, however, probably felt that being attacked by a zombie horde could actually be better than trying to hit a deadline with all the “help” he was getting.
Perhaps, I’ll take pity on him and buy him some craft supplies for Christmas. Then again, if I did, we might not ever see him again.