Teaching my daughter to play jacks: A life list update

Few pastimes remind me of childhood as much as playing jacks. Climbing trees, roller skating, tying daisy chains, riding bikes, swimming, catching lightning bugs. All of that too. 

But playing jacks holds a special place, though I'm not entirely sure why. I remember playing with my mother, down on the orange linoleum floor of our 1970s-style kitchen, the metal jacks spread out before us, the bounce bounce bouncing of the ball. Plucking the jacks one by one or sweeping a triumphant handful of fivesies, sixies, sevensies. 

I spent hours, countless hours, practicing alone, a solitary game of concentration and repetition. 

It was something I could not wait to share with my own children, much like sitting in the grass, picking through clover and tying flower chains. This Christmas, I finally did when Santa left a nostalgic tin of metal jacks beneath the tree for Esme. After the excitement of Josephine's costume trunk wore off and before Kent installed the batteries in Esme's new camera, we sat on the dining room floor and played together. 

Josephine flitted in and out between costume changes while Buzz Lightyear rocketed Desmond to infinity and beyond. We played game after game and finally took a break when Esme managed her way from onesies to fivesies. 

It wasn't long before someone else sat down, ready to learn. 

Dana blogs at Feast After Famine.


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