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Nintendo Family Therapy

This story felt like an appropriate one to post next...

Birthdays and Christmas: that's when my parents bought us stuff. Necessities, like clothes, and recreational things, like toys. The two big gift-giving holidays were when we got what we needed and what we wanted. And we got everything we asked for. That was one thing about my parents: they were thorough.

My sister and I were to give them a specific list of exactly what we wanted by Thanksgiving. If we complied, we could expect to receive everything on the list. If not, my parents would omit one important thing on our lists for every few days "late" our lists were, as punishment. I needed some new jeans for school one Christmas, but didn't get my list to Ed and Denise until early December, so I was stuck shivering in stretch pants that winter.

Because our parents showered us with gifts on those two major holidays they didn’t give us things any other time during the year. That was fine; we just put whatever we wanted on our Christmas or birthday lists and eagerly anticipated.

However, one evening when we were living in Chicago my father came home with a large plastic bag. I could see through it. Inside was a box with "Nintendo" printed on the side.

"Dad, did you buy a Nintendo?!" I exclaimed.

"No, Kate,” he replied sarcastically, “I stole it and they gave me a bag to carry it in.”

My sister, mother and I excitedly opened the box and hooked it up to the TV. The Nintendo came with two games on one cartridge: Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. That night the four of us stayed up until two AM playing with our new toy. It was awesome! We took turns playing each other, two at a time, until my mom got too drunk to see straight and dropped out. My father, sister and I sat on the floor a few feet from the TV, as far as the control wires could stretch. My mother sat smoking on the couch behind us.

Sibby developed an adorable control handling technique that the rest of us laughed at, adoringly. To make Mario jump instead of just pushing the correct key she'd wave the control in the air in a jumping motion as well, as if it were a Wi. What a bonding experience this new toy was! We cheered each other on and tried to help from the sidelines, backseat-video- game assisting. Even my mother, who normally got angry the drunker and more left out she felt, remained in positive spirits the entire evening. It is the only night I can remember being awake past eleven PM with all of my immediate family without the police being called.


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