Resolving to Play

During the holidays, MJ and I spent a whole afternoon on this snowy hill with the Bear and Banana and our nieces and nephew. It started out as our annual tradition of tobogganing with the kids on Christmas Eve. But as the snow was quite deep, MJ and I were forced to make some improvements. We built banks on either side of the run. Then we thought that a jump would make the hill a little more spectacular. Finally, we sent our niece off to the kitchen to bring back buckets of water to help pack down the snow and cover the run with ice. The kids loved it…. And so did we.

MJ and I came into the house with reddened cheeks, our bodies were fueled by the exertion of shifting piles of snow, and we were thrilled with our accomplishment. Most of all, the room was buzzing with chatter about who had had the best run down the hill and who had had the best wipe-out. I found that I couldn’t stop smiling.

This experience reminded me of the book, Play. Dr. Stuart Brown reminds us that play is not the opposite of work; it is the opposite of depression. We must play in order to be happy. Now, play comes in every shape and size and isn’t reserved for children. Play is any activity that helps you experience the joy of life.

For 2011, my slow parenting resolution is play more. This doesn’t mean that you’ll catch me playing ‘school’ for hours at a time with the Bear. (I’ll let her go free-range on me during those times). Rather, I aim to leave more time in the day for activities that bring me joy and to turn boring activities into play with the kids. For example, today the Bear and I played ‘hair dresser’ which was really an excuse for me to cut her bangs. But I also plan to carve out more creative time for myself.

Happy New Year, readers!

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