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Sunday
Jan202013

Play

Play means many different things to many different people. You can play pretend, you can play a game, you can play at learning, you can play on stage, you can play with things, or play music. I think play changes as we get older, too. When I was young there was nothing I loved so much as to play at being a teacher with the chalkboard in our basement, or to play house in the tunnel of foliage on the berm in our backyard, while now my play is focused more on hobbies.

As an adult, and wife and mother, when we moved into our new home we did not have enough furniture for it, so our front room, ostensibly a sitting room, remained empty except for the piano and a few bookshelves of toys. We took to calling it our play room. It has changed a bit since then—the bookshelves grew like weeds (they now reach to the ceiling!), and we added a dress-up chest, a shelf doubling as a window seat, and now a dog crate—but really we've left it open so that it could continue to be our play room.

There is an etiquette book somewhere that says we shouldn't have the front room, the very first room visitor's see upon entering the house, filled with the things that make the most mess. But in the dead of winter, when the house is chilly and the outside uninviting, the afternoon sun streams through the front window and warms the play room floor. It calls all of us to spread out and bask, so we do. On any given day the floor is strewn with books, art pieces, Legos, or felt sets, and likely a young boy and a couple of dogs, too. That's where we sit to discuss history, run science experiments, read favorite books, or just simply play, with the piano, with dogs, with toys, with each other.

Today it was a building spree—the construction of a pool on a riverside, to be visited by all the fairy tale creatures Calvin could divine, or rummage from various sets, before their return to the castles...and parking garage. And, while Jon was off teaching lessons, for me it was playing with the camera, experimenting with that beautiful afternoon light and falling in love with my hobby all over again. I am still considerably under the weather, so it was nice to lay on the floor in the sporadic sun and just watch the boy play, listening to things those characters said and watching the things they did, and possibly I fell asleep for a few minutes, because I think I was awakened by a spotted pink tongue and a giggling little boy.