In my home, we have a room that my sons, ages 4 and 8 years old, refer to as “The Magic Room.” It’s probably not what you are thinking. It’s our formal dining room. Truth be told, we didn’t use the room all that much for eating, as we have a kitchen table steps away from where I prepare meals. Still, we occasionally used this formal eating space. It was a treat to gather there for holidays and any other time that a special meal seemed in order. This all changed when my husband introduced my older son to the game Magic, The Gathering.
If you are not familiar with Magic, it’s a fantasy-themed card game in which mythical creatures battle. Players build their decks with cards that need to be played in a specific way in order to take down an opponent. The game is loaded with strategy, math, and complex rules. It makes my head spin, but from the first moment, my son was hooked. He and my husband began to play nightly, and the more they played, the more Magic-related things came into the house. We have play mats, dice, strategy books, and deck after deck after deck of cards. My husband tracked when new Magic releases came out, and deliveries would show up at the house that my son could barely stop from tearing open. Their enthusiasm and interest continued to build.
When I requested use of the table for eating, they stacked all the boxes on the floor in the corner. Eventually, my husband asked if he could use the drawers of our hutch to store cards. Figuring this would keep the room multi-functional, I cleaned out all the table linens to make ample room for the Magic materials. They also have use of all the drawers of the coffee table and shelves in the adjoining living room. Alas, even this could not contain the gaming explosion.
Augmenting all of this, my son has recently gotten heavily into Dungeons & Dragons. The guides, play mats, figurines, and mapping tools for a whole new strategy game just swept into the Magic Room. And the dice….oh, the dice! So many colors and sizes of dice, we could create a mini-ball pit for the family. There is no way to contain it, and there is no way to eat around it.
I have come to embrace the fact that the dining room is no longer a place over which I have any control. But the truth of it is, I wouldn’t ask for it to be any other way.
The quality time my husband and sons spend together creating imaginary worlds is worth eating every meal in the kitchen (or wherever we can find a space). My guys are talking, bonding, creating, laughing, competing, and working through the lessons of good sportsmanship. Add in the fact that this keeps my son engaged and not asking to play video games every 5 minutes, and I think it’s a worthwhile use of space. Even my little one, who can’t grasp the level of these games, loves to watch and participate in his own way. He sets up figures, rolls dice, draws maps on paper, and leads us through his own versions of magical quests. I don’t know if he even remembers that it was ever the dining room. When he is in there playing and I call for him, he responds, “Mom, I’m in the Magic room!”
So with this, I fully offer up my formal dining room to my husband and sons as a place to wage epic wars against most fearsome opponents. There is just too much good stuff going on that I wouldn’t dream of making a fuss, even when I may feel like eating on a surface not covered with Orcs. Besides, they welcome me as one of their own and create special characters for me to play. Currently, I am a half-elf cleric with wicked dreadlocks and amazing healing abilities. I’ll take it.
What is your dining table used for? Eating? Playing? Holding stuff? Is there a room in your home that has been re-purposed for a family hobby?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State), USA.
Photo credit to the author.