Saturday, June 9, 2012

Remember to Play

What do you do when you are caught by yourself and don't have a clue what to do? When everyone you know is off playing and you have to be by yourself... When you don't know what to do? AND you are so tired of working you could just

... cry, scream, have a temper tantrum. (If you were 3.)

You sit back, and try to figure out what's wrong. When did being alone become hard? Was I four or fourteen? Or did it happen somewhere past forty? I don't remember. But somewhen I forgot how to play.

Oh I was really good at making sure that my children's play was sacred. We made mud pies, brownies, rollerskated. We blew bubbles and made sand castles. We rolled down the hill, rode trikes and bikes. We made up games like 'Pink" and "Pounce" (think rainbows from the crystals in the window and cat like behavior.)

We read stories, I told stories. We made villages in the basement from appliance boxes, and our driveway was always full of children.

And it was -20F with a half inch of ice on everything when we polished our downhill driveway with our butts so the point where you couldn't walk on it at all. (or get the car out... LOL

And then they grew up. And I forgot how to play. Everything I did had a purpose. Write a story. Paint a picture to match the furniture, and the walls. Create wreaths for the season - which ever season it was. Create, create, create... always for a purpose.

My kids know how to play. Because they somehow learned that play was sacred. And they remember.

But I forgot.
I have spent the last three years learning how to be idle again. And honestly I never knew it would be hard.

Make a home for myself, and my almost grown son. Work. Study. Keep busy so I don't have to be alone with the idea that I am afraid to play by myself.

A couple of weeks ago I got out the chalk and started drawing. And writing what amounts to pithy sayings on my local sidewalk. And I have learned to play again... Oh I've had my share of detractors that write nasty things with the chalk that I leave for others to use... The really nice thing about chalk - the nastiness can be erased with a little water and a cheap paint brush.

But there are people who have responded to my "Please draw... she asks quietly." There have been hearts, short love notes. Stars and moons. And a Rocket to the Moon...

This is a small corner of this big world... And here we will be kind to each other. We will speak softly, for Words Have Power, and they carry further than we can imagine.

For me - right now - the most loving thing I can do for myself - is learn how to play with the innocence of a child, eyes twinkling, dancing on tiptoe. It doesn't matter that I'm an author of a children's book (and two unpublished novels, an itty bitty self help book, and tons of short stories), or in graduate school... those are things I do during the day. It matters that I'm as good a mom as I can be, a caring friend, and a kind stranger. What I am is love. And my blog(s), my Twitter account, and my often neglected Facebook page reflect that.

The theme of all of these is... it has always been...

Live vividly, learn earnestly, laugh whole heartedly, and love with everything you've got.

We work hard, and this is good, but Remember to Play ~ it's good for your soul.


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