Ancient History

Follow Me?



This photo was taken shortly after my husband, just a boy and a friend in those days, taught me how to play chess.


I felt silly when he took my picture. I was still very self-conscious around him. A few weeks earlier, he was just a guy in my Southwest Literature class, the only one who nodded when I made the scandalous assertation that Bless Me, Ultima is vastly stupid.

In the photo, I was looking down at the board. The balance of horsies and crowns was in my favor for the first time. My moves were smart. They were made with calculation and forethought. I had an end goal in mind.

If you look at the pieces, I wasn’t able to say checkmate yet. We can’t remember why we wanted a photo of that particular moment. I hadn’t won. He hadn’t lost. But the possibility was there. We recognized it.

He was a good teacher. I beat him a few times.

We’ve stopped playing chess. Life, diapers, babies, bills, cholesterol, obligations, diapers, fabric softener, canned peas, coupons, diapers, brown boxes, garden hoses, and new fuel pumps. Diapers.

We have a good life. We are very blessed.

But sometimes we look at each other and mention the old chess board. Do you know where it is? No. I thought you might. No.

It was magnetic and foldable for travel. It would be easy to take out on a whim. If our game had to stop for a lost shoe or antibiotic dosing, our places would be kept until we could pick it up again.

It would be so easy.

Then why is it so hard?

11 comments to Checkmate

  • I hear you. A lot of things seem easy. And probably are…in some other kind of world where diapers and laundry don’t seem all consuming.

    PS: I didn’t like ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ either. But I especially didn’t like ‘Beloved’ (one of my least favorite books of all time). However, if I ever meet Oprah and she asks what my least favorite book is? I’ll totally lie and say ‘Moby Dick.”

  • It would be so easy and it IS so hard. I totally hear you on this one Gretchen. Intentional. It the word I am working on most right now.

    Love that pic.

    Heth’s last blog post..Mother’s Day Weekend

  • edj

    Huh. I hear you. I hated “Bless Me, Ultima” too.

    And thank you for explaining that the board is magnetic. I was wondering.

    edj’s last blog post..It’s Where? continued…

  • I want to know, too.


    Adventures In Babywearing’s last blog post..Stupid Is As Stupid Does, Or Something Like That.

  • ann

    Maybe you can find a new one! I have seen little magnetic travel chess boards at Target/Wal Mart, maybe you could surprise him with a new one.

    ann’s last blog post..Mother’s Day Photos

  • I think sometimes it hits us that even though we generally feel like we’re the same people that we used to be, we are, in fact, quite different. It’s natural for us to expect our children to grow and change, but I think we sometimes forget that we grow and change too, even as adults.

    My husband and I were just reminiscing last night about our lives in the apartment where we lived as newlyweds before we were parents. It seems like a lifetime ago, and I think about how different my perspective and interests were back then. It wasn’t worse or better, just different, if you know what I mean.

    Shayne’s last blog post..Phone Home

  • By the way, I read the whole post wondering if that board was magnetic. Thank you for clearing that up!

    Shayne’s last blog post..Phone Home

  • Ah, thanks for reminding me that I bought my hubby a little chess set that’s magnetic to put on the refrigerator or wherever–the chess game can go on and on and on for how ever long it takes. . . .

    but. . . .

    I forgot to give it to him for Valentine’s Day


    for his birthday (for the reasons you mentioned and then some)


    should I wait for our anniversary or Father’s Day next month? Or should I give it to him now?

    Amy @ Hope Is the Word’s last blog post..Book Review–The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

  • Am wondering if now with so many years of mothering in your past if your chess strategies would be different!!!!!!!!!!

  • It is hard. Hard — and temporary. I think, before we know it, we’ll be looking around at our quiet, empty homes and wondering, “When did this happen?”

    I’m sure it will be bittersweet: the kids will be grown — no more squeaky-high voices in the background, chubby toddler hands, or little boy jokes — but we’ll have more time for dates and chess games again. 🙂

  • I was thinking ahead in my life on my drive home from the gym tonight. I count that hour away as a blessing and a time to get my body back to pre-baby (it will NEVER happen). But I was thinking about being an empty-nester, for whatever reason, and how lonely I will be. In less than two years, having her here has become the new norm, and as much as I sometimes pine for those insignificant-at-the-time date nights, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Minnesotamom’s last blog post..Adoption Fraud

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