Today is National Play Monopoly Day which brings to mind a story I wrote over thirty years ago. I think we need to start playing Monopoly with my grandson.

One evening, I was playing Monopoly with a family friend and my sons, fourteen-year-old Justin and sixteen-year-old Nicholas. The game was going

smoothly until Justin, in a characteristic, major capitalistic move wanted to buy several properties from his brother. This coup, if he could coerce his brother into selling, would give him a monopoly; one entire city block.

This was bad news for the other three players in the game; I was perilously close to bankruptcy. So Justin offered his brother an obscene amount of money, to no avail. When that didn’t work, he switched to incentives, including, “You’ll never have to pay me rent if you land on these.” Nicholas, child of my heart during that hard-fought Monopoly game, persisted in saying, “No.”

Finally, Justin looked at his brother, often the source of such conflict and jealously in his life, and smiled. “Please let me buy them from you, Nicholas. If you do, I’ll love you forever.”

Nicholas’ face melted, and we all broke into laughter. Their completed transaction soon forced me into bankruptcy, and the game eventually ended with Justin the undisputed real estate mogul, despite not charging his brother rent.

Sometimes, life is challenging at best and a nightmare at worst. But whenever I see my kids together, so handsome and strong and so close to being on their own, I hear Justin saying, “But I’ll love you forever!” I know it’s true and those words get me through one more rough day.