Battleship (Photo credit: unloveablesteve)

Remember the board game Battleship?

When I was a kid, Battleship was a popular game. One day when my siblings and I went up to visit some neighbors. As we walked in, I noticed the garbage was piled up in the garbage bin, and the smell was gross. The floor was gray and dirty, and there were little fruit flies zooming around the room.

Their Mom walked into the kitchen and asked if anyone would like to play Battleship. All the other kids declined; they were going outside to play. I said sure!

It was a beautiful sunny day outside. Inside, it was smelly and dirty. But as we sat at the kitchen table, with our Battleship boards on the kitchen table, in between the half-eaten cereal and milk bowls, the Mom talked to me like I was an adult. We played a challenging game of Battleship; I always liked to put two boats next to each other crosswise, as it usually threw off my opponent. It worked during this game too.

She talked to me like I was the most important person in the world. And for that afternoon *I* was more important than housework.

Years later, I was able to pay it back. There were two kids in our neighborhood whose mother had locked them out of the house. Both moms had cleaned the house, and wouldn’t let them come in. It was raining! My son brought them over to my house, which was cluttered with toys on the floor, and papers from work all over the table. But I had lots of milk, and gave them snacks. They played on the living room rug, and were safe and dry.

My house was not the cleanest on the block, but I hope those kids felt that they were more important than a spotlessly clean house.

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