From Where I Sit – A Gift that Lasts

Have you jumped on the colouring for your sanity craze? In July I bought a colouring book as part of Hilary’s birthday gift and one for myself. Didn’t I feel special to be on the rising side of a trending curve as opposed to nearly missing the tail end? Right now you can’t take a step in any direction without seeing umpteen options. And, of course, I bought two twenty-four packs of Crayola markers to ensure our Mandala Magic sheets would be vibrant and master works. The other day I dug through my art supplies and unearthed my seventy-two piece Prismacolor pencil set in the snazzy metal case and a twenty-four pack of watercolour pencils. A softer look with more shade variations. It is true that you can’t colour and worry at the same time. If you’ve been very good maybe you’ll find one in your stocking this year.

While housecleaning this weekend I organized my games. It was also an attempt at baby-proofing the place for year-old Kade. I corralled those things that promise to help keep my faculties a while longer. Having a pretty purple flocked box to store them in was just gravy. So, stashed within reach of my favourite chair is the old Hi-Q game we’ve had forever. It’s a game for one. The goal is to remove as many pegs from the little game board as possible by strategic jumping. Keeping it company is my Nintendo DS with Brain Age game cards. Playing Sudoku or word games promises to keep Alzeimer’s at bay. Too bad the screen seems to have gotten smaller!

Added to the mix is a wooden Sudoku game from Indigo. Sue me. I’m a sucker for beautiful, tactile things. Granted, it’s a pain loading the numbered pegs and there are only twenty-four game options. But, maybe a slower, non-electronic version is just what a person needs. The speed with which you can solve a problem is only one measure of the intrinsic value of putting your mind to the test.

A couple of word puzzle books and a compact box of 101 write-on-wipe-off puzzles offer more challenges. I’ve got a jigsaw puzzle waiting. Speaking of old school, maybe a good old-fashioned game of Snakes and Ladders or Scrabble will break out during Christmas. There’s something to be said for sitting around a table, throwing dice, moving markers, handling tiles, staring down your opponent. To help Grady learn his numbers, we usually play a few games of Bingo on Christmas Eve. He’s gone from crank turner to caller.

No one I know is going to permanently ditch her smart phone or laptop, but maybe we can choose to slow down and play the old-fashioned way. Alone, or with family and friends. To relax, or stay sharp. To recapture our youth, or teach our children. To slow down and get off the merry-go-round? A gift that lasts, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.

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