I don’t play much with mine. It makes me sad.
At the end of a weekend I often find myself measuring my parenting performance: Did they get exercise, a play date, nutritious meals, a bath, enough sleep?
Then I have to answer “Did I give them quality time?” I sometimes do in spurts. Or we talk about it. Or we start to play. . . until the phone rings . . .
This week we had our usual family discussion (okay . . .threat) about giving away our guinea pigs. It always ends in tears, my daughter saying, “Just because I don’t play with them, doesn’t mean I don’t love them!” I understand all too well.
The intention to play always slips away even though I know deep down that ~
~ Sitting on the ground and playing cards with them grounds me.
~ The instant joy on their face when we play Wii becomes mine.
~ I hear what’s under the surface when I’m under the covers holding them.
~ I need a mental break as much as they do when we draw.
~ Gardening or cooking together makes my chores feel like play.
~ When we all stop and throw a ball together we become a closer and kinder family.
My daughter Aria last night said, “I miss Daddy.” My husband hasn’t been traveling. He works at home most days. This missing is all happening under one roof.
Maybe this holiday season instead of telling our kids “No more screen time”, we could start by stepping away from ours. Maybe after dragging them to our holiday parties we pull them onto our laps. Maybe the next time they want someone to play with, that someone could be us . . . the gift of time.