Sometimes I can't see straight. Ok, this is probably closer to most of the time, but sometimes I am aware of it.
I need a nudge, even forceful nudging, to clear the fog from my eyes and drop the spatula or laundry to join in play.
It can sound like this:
"Mom, will you pretend with me?"
"I am about to start making dinner. Can I pretend with you while I am cooking?"
"Sure. You can pretend to be 'the mom'."
And one of the girls turns into my daughter with a new name, the other is our pet, and I call out "motherly" commands while cooking.
It's a bit awkward. My attention is split. Probably, my cooking...and my pretending suffer because of it!
But the kids keep trying and inviting. I'm glad they do. Because when I completely let go of the "to-do list," which never ends, and just play and enjoy the moment with them, I never regret what comes out of that time together. Their creative, imaginative souls are a joy.
This past weekend, H took on a secret. All I could see was her in over her head in paper, glue, paint, crayons. Then Sunday she invited AF and me to a girls' art night for that evening with her art on display. There would be tea and music, too. Ok, who can pass that up!? Shortly before "the showing," the girls dressed in their evening attire. H went sophisticated in a pink blouse, twirly skirt, leopard socks, and strappy, white "heels." AF chose casual with a t-shirt, capris, and flip-flops. The boys kept their distance playing on the floor while we girls poured tea and browsed through the art, all to the sound of Pandora Disney Songs. That music eventually led all of us to the living room "dance floor" where the kids practiced catching the beat with Espi and me until bedtime called.
"Old Barn" by H
"Me Petting Horses" by H
"Me Eating Pasta" by H
"Tessellation" by H and Lulu
"Indian in Big Shoes" by H
Also, this week, the girls and I were looking at the life of early farmers, towns and cities from ancient times. We talked about what history means and the valuable contribution of archaeologists. Somehow, we then started talking about old artifacts that Espi and I found on our land over the years, like broken horse bits, rusty matchbox cars, broken dish pieces. H eagerly wanted to see what she could uncover, too!
"Can I dig in the yard today??"
Uhh. "Maybe! Why don't you get your quiet-time started, and I'll see what tools I can find for you to use."
In the meantime, for fun I dug a hole close to the house and dropped a fork in the middle for her to uncover later.
As soon as I let her loose, she started digging and soon said, "I think I found something!" She pulls out the fork from the dirt, "This doesn't look old." "It's not," I admit and smile, "I put it there today for you to find." H was passionate, "I really want to find something!" So we kept digging together for a-long-while. I even broke out the large pick axe; this Colorado clay is a back breaker! Then I woke AF to join the archeology dig and left the girls to the dirt while I started dinner. The next thing I saw was Espi across the property with the girls in the arena--our artifact hot spot. It's the lowest land on our property where flood waters flush through, but we have wondered if previous owners burned garbage there, also. I called Espi on the cell phone, "Is she finding anything!?" "Oh, I can't reveal. You'll have to wait and see," was his response. I took that as a good sign. After 2 hours of digging and searching, the girls came inside with a pan holding old bottle, dish, and bone pieces and a saddle strap.
(digging in the weedy round pen)
(H and AF were so excited to show all their finds.)
The funny part was hearing later from Espi that much of it was found right on top of the soil because he had just harrowed the arena a couple weeks earlier! (And not funny because this is the ground of the arena. We have come to know that each harrow means pacing the land carefully for turned-up "artifacts.")
When days feel so full of "needs," I am so thankful for these children's imaginations and playful requests. They are a gift to my soul--if my face isn't upside down in a pile of laundry and I'm able to see right side up--a sweet invitation to let go, play, and enjoy.
(After husking corn this week, the girls saved all the silk for play with their farm animals.)