Playing. Sounds fun, right? It’s all my kids think about from morning till night. They are endlessly busy playing while I’m creating my own version of busy to avoid joining in. I just can’t “play” with them and at some point I stopped pretending to pretend. They have almost entirely stopped asking the questions that make me clamor for some household chore that surely can’t wait, “Mommy, will you play with us?” or “Will you be…(Dora, the Veterinarian, etc)?”
Is that as sad as it sounds? I take care of them and most days even find great purpose in keeping them safe and clothed, loved and fed, comforted and coached, read to and listened to, but I can’t be in their imaginary world.
I will, however, play games: Go Fish or Uno, a puzzle or even Candy Land. I will push them in our swing, I will roll out the play doh and I will organize a morning with my sister and nephew to make gifts for their beloved grandmothers, but I won’t “be” the dinosaur who lives in the doll house and sleeps on the roof and I won’t be Dora the Explorer’s side kick in a scenario void of all adult reason.
I’ve decided this is okay; I’ve provided an environment for their outrageous imaginations while I’m on the fringe, available with ideas, help, and a strange knack for knowing where to find a missing doll or misplaced roll of tape. They are kids and that’s what kids do and I’m the parent, doing what I need to do to stay sane and not lose that sense of purpose.