Like all children my daughter loves to play. And she never misses an opportunity to engage me in her play. She starts playing as she opens her eyes in the morning, in fact, I am sure she doesn’t start playing she simply picks up where she left the day before – it’s an ongoing thing for her. Just like living. Alas, I am afraid I haven’t played enough with her. (I don’t think it is ever possible to play ENOUGH). I am sure I have played more than the average parent, though: Running around in the street roaring like a lion or a tiger, jumped like a kangaroo, meowed like a cat, played Gaston of “Beauty and the Beast”, played Belle, played hide and seek, played tag, sung songs from Disney cartoons when we are on the train, rolled around on the floors of several stores and friend’s houses with her on top, climbed around on many a climbing frame on all the playgrounds we have ever visited, thrown her high into the air catching her again, swung her around, played a newborn baby who’s only words were “mami” and “mwuaaaa”, run after all the kids at her kindergarten playing tag with them, swinging her on playground swings pretending to be a monster who wanted to catch and eat her and so on. All to her never ending delight and with that my own delight as well.I am sure some of the people who have seen me running around like have thought I must have lost it. But really, who cares?
Unfortunately, even though I love to play as much as I do.There have been many times where I have turned down my daughter’s generous offer to let me play with her simply on the account that I was busy doing something else I was sure had to be done at that exact moment. It seems absolutely nuts, right? Declining to play because there is something else you HAVE to do, not even something you particularly WANT to do? Some people would say that it is necessary to do something you don’t want to do once in a while. And maybe they are right in some cases, but most of the times those things can actually wait while you enjoy life with your children.
As a child I also loved to play, I saw absolutely no need to grow up in a hurry, quite agreed with J. M. Barrie on that one. I still do, absolutely. However, since I’ve been schooled for many many years, I do have some issues in that area. For example, I might sometimes think to myself, when I am crawling around on the floor with my daughter, pretending to be a sea monster or a great white shark (she is fascinated with those at the moment); “I should probably get off the floor soon and start preparing dinner or something else adult-like” and many times that is exactly what I will end up doing, making dinner, vacuuming, doing laundry or some other “reasonable” or “productive” activity instead of having fun with her. I mean, who actually cares if there is dinner “on time” or if the laundry sits there in its laundry basket looking pleadingly at me to “please be washed”, I know my daughter doesn’t care. She is absorbed with playing, gaining nothing but pure pleasure and delight from it. Well, gaining knowledge also of course. I know this because I can see it in her face, her eyes sparkle with joy, her voice fills with excitement, her whole body beams with happiness – it is outstanding. And her joy can’t help but rub off on me. I feel uplifted when I see that pure happiness radiating from her and I am sure there is nothing else that is more important at that moment.
I still have trouble singing in public; there is some boundary surroinding it that I just haven’t quite managed to break down. Maybe its my lack of talent for singing or maybe its my fear that my daughter will notice that I’m afraid to do it. I think the best thing about her wanting me to sing and play with her when we’re out and about is the knowledge that she isn’t the slightest bit embarresed with me at all; she could give two shits about what other people think about my singing, or me pretending to be a great white and that is priceless 🙂
By this I want to encourage you, dear reader, to play more! Whether you have children or not and never mind your age. Playing is fun, creative, imaginative and you may actually learn something; about yourself or the world or something entirely different. And the time you play is never lost; it is a gift to yourself and your surroundings.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”