Saturday, March 3, 2012

Playing Like a Child

I've never been a huge fan of snow games. I hate snowball fights, I've never been downhill skiing, and I'm usually the last person to suggest we go sledding. In addition to that, I think we as adults, and parents especially, can sometimes tend to rush on to the next activity, the next item on the to-do list, and don't always stop to enjoy the moment. Kids are good at that - enjoying everything as it's happening. Your kid will never be the first one to say "You know, I'm done. Let's go back inside." I'm always the one telling Rachel "Ok, one more time then we're going in." It's not really that we're in a rush to go anywhere or do anything, I've just had my fun. I've become a person who only has to try things one time. If we go sledding, I'm happy to go down one time and then hold the baby so everyone else can have fun. If we go snow-mobiling, I'm happy to make one lap around the field and then sit on the sidelines while everyone else takes their turn. I don't need another turn, and I don't really want one.

Rachel has been begging me for weeks to go sledding. I've been glad for the excuse of no snow to not go. I kept telling her "We'll go as soon as there's snow." So the first day we had two inches she started begging again. I started getting sad to tell her that there wasn't enough to go sledding, and I began hoping that it would snow for a few days and stick so she could go play in it. I even started trying to figure out a schedule where I'd be able to take her out while Reuben slept, or while someone else was home to hold him so we could go out and play.

On Thursday, it snowed. A lot! I was so excited. I haven't been so excited about snow for years, especially not to play in it, but I was excited that Rachel would be able to. On Friday, Richard mentioned that he wanted to come home early so he could take Rachel sledding over at the neighbor's house. That made me so happy, and I was excited for the fun time they would have. Well, that didn't end up happening, but it was already a plan in my mind. It didn't work out for Friday, since I had errands to run in the morning and work in the afternoon, but I made it a plan for Saturday.

The second I got off work in the morning, I started bundling kids up to go play outside. I made sure we were all snug and warm, myself the most. I'm always the first to get cold, and I wanted to make sure Rachel could have as much fun as possible. I moby-ed Reuben to my front and got all our gloves on, and out we went. I showed Rachel where we would make a path up the hill, and where we would sled down. I figured I could go down with her one time, then she could go by herself after that. So I and my infant lumbered onto the sled, and Rachel sat in front of us. We went down the first time and I thought, gee that was fun. But I'm done now. That's all I needed.

I carried the sled to the top of the hill and Rachel got on and went down by herself about a million times. It was fun to walk down the hill and get the sled to the top while she climbed up herself, but I started to get that itch to be done. I wasn't cold, I wasn't tired, and Rachel was having a blast, but I didn't need to do it again. But Rachel did. Every time she got to the bottom of the hill she would turn around and I would say "Look how far you went!" and she'd repeat it, then say "Let's do it again!" How can you argue with that? So I kept climbing down the hill to bring the sled back to the top.

As I walked, I watched my tiny daughter and saw how much fun she was having. I realized how cooped up she'd been all winter, and how much she has always loved being outside. I remembered that she had spent a fair amount of time in front of the TV that morning, and knew she'd want to watch something after her nap. And I knew that no one would be hungry for at least another hour. So I decided to let my little girl have her fun, and determined to stay out much longer.

After a few more times of watching Rachel zoom down the hill, making the trail a little longer each time, I realized something I didn't expect: I wanted to go down again. I saw how much fun Rachel was having, and I wanted to have that much fun too. Even though I had 18 lbs of Reuben strapped to my front, big bulky gloves, and no snow boots, I wanted to play in the snow. So I stooped down to sit on the sled and Rachel climbed on in front of me. We zoomed down the hill, even farther than she had gone, then all tumbled off to climb up the hill again. It was so fun! We went down together again and again and again, and each trip up the hill I could see and feel Rachel's excitement, and it mingled with my own.

Sometimes adults need to play like a child, to remember that life was meant to be enjoyed, not endured. Our lives are busy, and there's always so much more to get done. But it's not all going to happen today, is it? So why not take some time out to zoom down a hill for an hour.


brinestone said...

I find I have to remind myself of this too. If I don't make time to play with my kids, I get stressed out, and they get testy because life is all schedule and no fun. You're a great mom!

harada57 said...
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