The kids are at school, the dishes done, and the laundry started. She has no more excuses. She must sit down on the floor, now, in front of the TV, now, turn on the XBox, now, and learn to play.
She hates video games. She’s hated them all her life. From the moment her parents gifted her brothers their first Atari console, she’s thought of video games as the worst waste of time. There were so many more interesting things to do. As a kid she was always outside, running and playing and riding bikes. On rainy days, she liked to play house and school or games like trivia pursuit or do crossword puzzles.
It never mattered, before now, that she never got into gaming the way her brothers did. No one minded, before now, that she didn’t know the difference between a side-scroller, a first-person shooter or a role-playing game.
It mattered now.
Now she had kids, and her kids were gamers.
In her mind, in her world, a good parent was an involved parent. A good parent went to every soccer game, attended every recital. A good parent knew what was in the books her children read, because she’d read them. She knew the TV shows they liked because she watched with them. She knew how to play the games they liked, because she’d played them.
This month, the favorite game is on the Xbox, and it is a side-scroller. The kids finished level three last night before bed, and when they get home from school they will start level four. When they get stuck, they must turn to her for help, not the internet, not a friend, her.
She sits in front of the TV, turns on the XBox and logs into the game. With her laptop beside her, open to a cheat website, she takes the controller in her hands and learns how to complete level four.