So today I am not feeling overly ambivalent. (Because, at the risk of sounding sarcastic, I’m sure you care.) At least not towards the things in my life that are right in front of me: these children, these functions, this day. Having been restored by today’s earlier post’s topic, I’m reminded of things that remain constant, no matter the age, quite in spite of me and/or my somewhat manic perspective on, well, everything.
I am relieved to see beauty and extraordinary in what could otherwise be construed as quite ordinary, quite everyday. For this I’m grateful. (And not a little relieved.) So grateful that I wanted to share it with you in hopes that you may also be comforted by the existence of things which may be easy to take for granted as constants – but may be wildly powerful in the way they anchor us (quite without us knowing it?).
As long as there are children about, and as long as said children are relatively healthy, there is play. (Assuming, of course – at least in our household – that I have temporarily prohibited the use of devices. This includes anything screen and electronically related.) Also assuming, of course, that they have the time and space to play (which requires not being hyper-scheduled. But maybe that’s another post.).
I guess that play has always and intuitively seemed right and important. It’s a constant in the catch all command directed at children who don’t seem to be involved in something productive: “GO PLAY!” But it isn’t until recently that it has seemed to me to be something remarkable. Maybe it was the moment I found myself at an utter loss as to what the yellow ninja legoman would say to the purple cobra ninja legoman that it struck me as something built in and natural or as something impossibly elusive. Maybe the notion of play occurred to me to be an important one when I couldn’t name what it was I wanted to do “for fun”. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been concerned that I’ve lowered (raised?) my standards in our schooling recently. Maybe more than the state (this is an overly generalized collective term for anyone I don’t know in a position of authority [real or imagined] in education) would approve of? Maybe I’ve even allowed the children here to play at the expense of *gasp* some of their “lessons?” I’m referring here, of course, to their “formal” lessons, for there is no shortage of education in a child’s play. It is their rightful work. And it is good. But you see, after the winter we had, the sunshine and green and fresh air and birdsong is such a heavenly relief, such a lovely gift, that I just can’t bear to make them stop playing out in it, all surrounded by new life and life reawakened and adding their own delightful additions to the wonderful life-filled soup.
Maybe I’m newly aware of this whole play thing because I am out of the all consuming janitorial phase of raising children: diapers, car seats (down to just one booster!), and naps (save the occasional and spontaneous fall-asleep-wherever sort of the 6 year old. Or husband. Speaking of reliable constants…) and it’s not lost on me with two of the children being teenagers that this play thing may not last much longer ’round here in its current state. But whatever the reason, I am grateful for children and for play and for children who play. What a magical, wonderful, unexplainable mystery the whole thing is. Why they’re compelled to it, why so many of us forget how as we age, why it’s so important to delight in the existence of it. Why drinking in moments that go on, as they do, on such “ordinary” days (in quotes because I don’t think that such days are ordinary at all; they may just seem to be if we pass through them without looking closer) is such a pleasant relief, such an unexpected respite, such a not-always-noticed gift.
May you find yours today… And maybe even help catalyze someone else’s?