The love language of some people is that of gifts; Abbey is Scrabble

The love language of some people is that of gifts. They’re having a bad day and you come home with a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates and boom! All is well in the world.

Other people’s love language is words of affirmation. Tell them they’re doing a great job, their hair is great, and you love their new purse and you’ve won a friend for life.

There are more love languages, of course, and they vary depending on the books you read and who you follow on Instagram. But my love language is rarely – if ever – touched on in these more well-known reviews, so I thought it would be best to post it here in case we ever get to meet in person:

My love language is Scrabble.

Not board games. Not words. No online Scrabble or any clever digital imitation with obnoxious sound effects and colors. Just old Scrabble at a table with crayons for marking and a dictionary for looking up obscure two-letter words.

If I’m having a bad day you can send me roses and buy me chocolates and chances are I’ll eat them (the chocolates) and put them (the roses) on the table in the hall to eat and I even smile, but the hollow place in my heart will always remain.

If you compliment me on my new handbag and tell me I’m doing a good job, I’ll definitely be relieved, but if you REALLY want to show me you care, you’ll challenge me to an old-fashioned game of Scrabble. (with coffee).

I can trace this love language back to my mother, who instilled in us a love of words, taught us how to play, and even brought our 70s Scrabble game on every family camping trip, so on rainy days when there was nothing to do, we would sit at the picnic table under the awning and play scrabble by the light of a propane lantern.

We even have a special technique for flipping all the letters at once, funneling them from the right side of the game board into the box and flipping them while holding the board in place. We haven’t patented it yet but I think we should. (Of course, it would be easier to get them out of the bag, but you won’t be able to admire the beautiful grain of the wood.)

Thanks to Scrabble, I know that “qi” is a word, as well as “qat” and “qadi”. I also know that “Ni” is not a word, a fact that I hope will bother all Monty Python fans as much as I do.

Over the past few years I have meticulously groomed Bookworm and The Architect – soon Tiny will join – to be the next generation of Scrabblers, and my efforts are paying off: whereas in the early years I deliberately let Bookworm win, she recently beat me at full throttle. Obviously, I taught him well.

One particularly dismal Sunday afternoon, I was pouting in my bedroom and folding laundry with the door closed when I heard a “ding” on my phone. It was a message from Bookworm with one word:


Immediately, I was downstairs at the table with our Scrabble dictionary ready. Ironically, no additional words were needed. Scrabble is the universal healer.

King's Abbey

While I leave most of the board games around the house to Mr. Roy, who is patient enough to last through a set of Monopoly and every iteration we own, my kids all know that if they want play Scrabble, they came to mom’s house.

If they are bored, Scrabble.

Hunger? First a game of Scrabble.

Sick? A game of Scrabble might cheer you up!

And in a way, I see those little bits of time, when we gather around a square of cardboard covered with wooden tiles, as investments in the future of my children. Not necessarily because it expands their vocabulary (although it does) or teaches patience or uses strategy, but because it’s time we spend together, face to face. We could share a snack and fill the silence with chatter.

And in all of this we speak a language of love – my love the language. The language of Scrabble.

Abbey Roy is a mother of three daughters who make every day an adventure. She writes to keep spirits up. You can probably reach her at [email protected], but the responses are structured around bedtimes and weekends.

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