Twenty seven years ago I became a mother. I had barely figured out how to take care of myself at that point, let alone take care of a child.
A petite young girl entered our lives. She had long curly brown hair. She was quiet which we often mistook for compliance, but we learned over the years that quiet is quiet. Quiet is not being in agreement or being obedient.
She liked to play. In fact she could play for hours. As she grew it became clear that she enjoyed dressing up in costumes, drawing and crafts. My knowledge of how to encourage others and help them grow was non existent, but I knew that I wanted to encourage my daughter in what brought her joy.
We bought her a blue storage tub from the local dollar store. We quickly filled it with clay, crayons, paper, scissors, and everything we could think of that she could use to create. Later we made a craft closet for her.
It was a joy to watch her draw, paint, and color. She wasn’t worried about the outcome. She just had a strong desire to create, and so she did. She wasn’t worried about what others thought of her work. She concentrated on her craft.
She enjoyed dressing up in costumes. We noticed one year after Halloween that she wanted to dress up for fun. So we ensured that we kept her costumes every year. We added to her collection by picking up hats, gloves, and items from thrift stores.
As her parents we never understood her fascination with dressing up, but now that I look back, I remember the glimmer in her eye when she put on a costume. I remember the smile she had. She was simply doing what she liked. It didn’t make sense. It was play.
As the years progressed we had three more children, our jobs transitioned to careers, we took on the big mortgage, and weight of responsibility that comes with raising four children.
In the name of being a good mom and do to time constraints I gradually stopped doing almost everything I liked. Two years ago I hit a career and life wall. I was exhausted, lost and facing mid-life. I came to the realization that I had no idea who I was.
Our daughter would put on a big hat, some high heels, and a fuzzy scarf and play. She smiled, and played out some fantasy that was in her mind.
And me, and now? It’s taken two years to remember that I like to write, read, collect books, exercise, hike, go to classes where I can learn new things, study, watch mysteries, and BBC drama’s, and enjoy good food.
We were meant to enjoy life. Not just do what we think we should to make everyone else happy. Not just carry the weight of responsibility, but play.
Perhaps we need to develop our creative closet. An area of our life where we just do some things because we enjoy them. We do what WE like. We don’t worry about the outcome, or try to figure out what it means.
Perhaps right now you can go out your back yard and just run in the grass.
Perhaps you can grab a pen and paper and draw for absolutely no reason.
Perhaps you can throw together some ingredients in the kitchen and see what happens, and then laugh at the concoction you create.
Perhaps you need to put the phone down, shut the computer off, and get out that tub of legos you have hiding in the basement, and just build.
This is our life. In us is the potential to create something amazing. To discover it we need to get back to the days when we could play. When we simply enjoyed life and expressed who we really are.
Now go, do something today that makes no sense. Play.