This past week my four-year-old granddaughter came out of the bathroom with screams of delight, “Grams, I didn’t know you had a surfboard.” Neither did I! When I walked into the bathroom looking for the surfboard I didn’t remember having, my eye caught the royal blue cover on my ironing board, hanging from its hook on the door. I felt bad to tell her that it was really an ironing board. She sighed. I smile every time I go in there now, just thinking about it. Maybe next time we will just take it down and lay in on the carpet and pretend surf.
Children have fresh eyes. It is our privilege to be with them to see things we have long become numbed to in a new and different way. Whether our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, children in the church or the neighborhood, or our pets, we can learn from them the art of playing again. Playing happens when we forget ourselves and become totally immersed in something that is fun for us to do. Smiling and laughing out loud is a good sign it is happening.
Sometimes I ask a client what they would really like to do? An answer may not be forthcoming. They may say that they have no time left for themselves after working and taking care of things they have to do. Some talk about taking their children to practices and games as a chore, without really entering into the world of their child who is playing. Some just haven’t considered it an option to find some outlet that would add joy and relaxation to their lives, even just taking a walk, or finding time to read , or fish, or sew, or scrapbook, or play cards, or restore something, or paint, or dance, or listen to music, or take a nap. Watching TV, Facebook, and surfing (even just internet surfing) can count, but sometimes these seem to bring more stress than joy.
Family gatherings are more frequent during this time of year. It might just be a great time to spend time with the children and refresh our ability to see and play.