Life is Better When You Play

7 Jul

My youngest son Dylan hated to have his diapers changed when he was little. Before I could fasten them at his hip he would flip over and crawl away from me at the speed of light on chubby little hands and knees. I would grab his ankle in a power struggle that he would loose and we both would hate. One day, I spontaneously grabbed a paper bag mask that my older son had made at school and popped it on my head. My baby lay mesmerized by the eye holes and jagged teeth, while I quickly fastened his diaper. Voila, struggle averted.

Dylan also would talk to puppets. Putting a sock puppet on my hand, I would stand behind the door with arm extended and he would carry on a conversation with my talking hand. Puppet – “Mom just doesn’t understand, right?” Dylan – “Yeah!” in a teary little voice he poured out his heart. We worked out many problems talking to the hand.

But the biggest problem was getting Dylan and his brother out of the community pool on those hot Texas afternoons. They loved to swim and treated each day as if it were their last opportunity ever and held on to the moment for dear life. In an effort to avoid the usual anger, threatening, and arm-tugging style of parenting that I resorted to in those days, I asked them if they wanted to play a game. Little eyes looked up at me with interest. I told them that I was a mama lion and they were my babies and there were hunters that we needed to avoid to get home safely. I took off on the adventure to find them running to keep up. We traversed the neighborhood from bush to stick tree, to the corner of a neighbor’s house, crouched low and whispering…shhh we must be quiet so the hunters don’t see us. We arrived home to snacks in a happy mood and my children didn’t seem to know or care that I’d pulled a fast one. I was the one who learned something important. Life is always more fun when we play.

Yesterday was a day packed with activity. We got up early, cleaned, ran errands, grocery shopped, and showed the house twice to perspective buyers. At seven o’clock, we finally sat to an anticipated quiet evening. Within minutes our friends called to remind us of a dinner invitation that we had completely forgotten. We were thirty minutes late! Oh, well, off we went again, laughing at our oversight. We had a wonderful dinner and appreciated our friends who worked hard to connect with us before we are “outta here”. The day ended with many items checked off our to-do list and a lovely dinner with friends. We played, laughed and avoided the hunters. Mission accomplished.

Dylan still loves the pool.

Dylan still loves the pool.

Dylan and his son Hunter.

Dylan and his son Hunter.

My Son and his family

Our Son and his family

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