This is a post in the series Choosing to Connect, true life stories from my readers in their own words. If you would like to participate click here for details.
This week we have a lovely story from Emma.
“Mommy, wanna play dollhouse?” Or princess or superheroes? Ugh. Again. There are only so many times an adult human can play pretend in a given time. And there’s things to do – washing the dishes, folding the clothes, tidying up. And so much I’d rather do – read, go on the computer, almost anything but play pretend yet again.
“Not right now…” I start to say. But then I stop and take a step back. My daughter is 4 years old and wants to play with me. I remember wanted to play with my parents but them being too busy. It wasn’t about the game or the toy; it was just about spending time with them. And the times I did spend with them stand out in my memory boldly. They didn’t need to do anything special.
I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t like playing pretend with my daughter. I feel like I have to “entertain” her, put on a show, make her laugh. And that’s just exhausting. I need to remember that I don’t. Simply being there is enough.
She will be 5 years old in a few months, starting kindergarten next fall. We aren’t going to have this time forever. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way before. My sister is 12 years younger than me, and I just adored her. When I was a teenager, and she was a toddler, I had so many things I wanted to do with her, but I would get wrapped up in being a teenager and tell myself, “We’ll do it tomorrow…next week..next month…” And then one day you look up and she’s not a little kid following you around any more. She grew up, as children seem to do, and I missed out on a lot of just ‘being there’ that I wish I’d been there for.
“Okay, what are we playing today?” I ask, putting down whatever I was doing and embracing the play. Today, dollhouse (or princess or superheroes). I will have plenty of time for the other stuff later.