Every summer when I was a little Greek girl I would battle my sisters for supremacy of the blanket forts that we made around the house. The winner would get the other sister’s allowances and then be able to go on a special shopping trip with mom. The losers had to stay home and only wished they could have been named the BFQ – Blanket Fort Queen.
It was one of those stupid made up games that we all played as children that meant the world to us as we were playing them. I do remember going back and forth each time on the rules… like any Greek girl’s hair style, they were also always changing.
We played the game a few times each summer. The game rules were supposed to be simple. You had to make a fort using only the blankets from your own bed. You were allowed to use other props to accessorize, like dining room chairs, coat rack, garbage cans, pots and pans or anything else that wasn’t nailed down in the house – Except Mom’s Tupperware – Holy Hannah, I made that mistake one year and made a mental note in my still developing noggin – If you wanna live to be able to grow up to be a rock star, then never ever touch Mom’s Tupperware again!! Lesson learned.
Good thing Child Protective Services never stopped by for a surprise visit during a game of Blanket Fort, by the Aston girls. Otherwise, CPS might have thought that our parents made us live in make shift structures all over the house. But luckily that never happened.
Eventually we all quit playing the game because, not to brag or anything, but I would always win. (Woot Woot) There was no way I was rigging the game because our Mom was always the judge. Each time, as if she had been trained by Martha Stewart personally, Mom would go from fort to fort and give a tour of each. Talking about the highlights of each fort.
Maybe it was to foreshadow things to come, but I remember I always had a little hand-made sign on the outside of my fort that said, “Mom, please remove your sneakers before entering!” and then once inside I had a plate of cookies waiting for her. Mom must have liked the little brown-nosing, because as I said – I was crowned BFQ game after game.
But something would happen when Mom and I would go on our special shopping trip. I would feel horrible. I felt really bad that I had taken my sister’s allowance and was going to spend it on myself. So I never did. I always would tell my Mom that I had an idea. I said I wanted to use my money and buy my sisters something. Mom would always say, “Oh Ava, that is such a great idea!” She had that same response every time, as if it was something new popping in my noggin.
I mostly bought candy for my sisters. But having multiple allowances worth of money in my jean pockets, I was able to buy lots of it. When I went home I would gather
the losers, my sisters in my winning fort and distribute the candy. My sister Marie once said, it was like Christmas in July. Indeed it was. Even as a youngster I always knew it felt much better to give than to receive. What I didn’t know then was that Mom always picked my fort as the winning fort because she knew that I would always share the the winnings with my sisters.
So as we wind down the month of July I just want to shout out to everyone, Merry Christmas (in July)! Now go do something nice for someone else.