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Monday, March 28, 2011

Playing as Spiritual Practice

Almost 9 years ago- my husband took me on the best vacation of my life- our honeymoon! When we arrived I started planning, thinking, scheduling-- what day should we do this or that, budget out our money for eating out, etc. There was so much to do- parasailing, kayaking, going to the beach. Kevin said, "Nope- we'll eat when we want to eat, sleep when we want to sleep, and play when we want to play." That is probably the first time I really really played and rested. Kevin has taught me how to rest and how to play!

But I don't know if anyone has taught me how to play better than my girls. My youngest especially! Sophia knows how to play! She has the most amazing imagination. Both of my girls do- but I realized that when Gracie was Sophia's age she was always instructing her little sister to play. "Sophia follow me" and "Sophia let's go do this." Gracie is often content to do her own thing and lead-but Sophia has no one to teach--except me and Daddy usually! And she does! She teaches me how to play!

Saturday Gracie napped as she recovered from her fever and Sophia and I played and played. Yesterday when we came home from church Gracie said she was going upstairs for a nap and Sophia said, "Mommy! Color with me!!" I wanted to just check on Grace and Sophia just screamed "No Mommy! Stay! Sit! Color!" After a brief meltdown where I checked on Grace and I came back- we began our coloring.

Sophia put a crayon in my hand and said- here Mommy you use this one. Draw a princess. Now draw a prince charming. She is coloring with me. She took a pink crayon and said, "Now the monster comes." and she draws a monster. Then there was a wolf, and a pig, and then a wicked witch, and then another prince and princess and I think some other characters too! She created a whole storyboard!


Here's a closer picture:



We then had to go hide Sophia said! Because a wolf was coming! (They love playing wolf and pigs and singing a song about the Big Bad Wolf that they learned at school!) She loves to hide behind the big chair in our living room and its a house! And then she brings everything and dumps it back there. I was directed to stay. I propped myself against the buffet and the wall and she covered me up and brought me pillows and we had a tea party, called Grandparents, sang our ABC's, and played and played.



Then all of a sudden Sophia said- Okay Mommy- You be a alligator and I'll be a dog- Now you're a pig and I'm a horse- I'm a princess annnnnnd you are now a monkey!
Hilarious!

Then Sophia said- Mommy let's go play with our dolls! We go upstairs and play with barbies, princesses, McD's toys, Shrek, stuffed animals, little people, and my little ponies, and one random dragon. All came together in a brilliant story Sophia orchestrated and directed me in. (Seriously- Toy Story got it right!)

Then it was time for dress up! She flung open the trunk and began pulling clothes out left and right until she found what she was looking for. She was determined and had a plan!



All along- Sophia taught me to play and dream and imagine. Playing is pure joy. Play is a spiritual practice- it opens us to discover to dream- to aspire. Not to have a plan-- not to figure everything out- not to schedule but to enjoy one moment at a time. I am so thankful that my wise Sophia and my sweet Grace pull me out my moments of thinking--- "but I really need to clean this or do this or go fold this laundry..." Sometimes what I really need to do is "Sit down Mommy!" and play!

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