There are those times when I'm sitting on the couch quietly reading or trying to get a little bit of work done and my daughter innocently walks over and asks me to play. At first a wave of anxiety ripples through my body. Then the thoughts - "when will I ever get my work done?" "why can't I ever have any time to myself?" "if I don't want to play am I a bad mom?" "when will all of my work ever be done so I can play?" and "am I a fun hater? did I forget how to love playing?"
It honestly depends on the night whether I'm game Uno or not but be certain that if I do play, it's hard to stay present and keep my mind on the game. Even though I left my computer or my book on the coffee table, I haven't actually let it go.
And then, the most magical place in the whole world happened to me. The City Museum in St. Louis, MO. We took a short spring break trip there a few weekends ago and I am forever grateful for that place. I have remembered how to play. And play we did!
Part museum, part crazy fun play space, the City Museum was AWESOME and mostly unexplainable. Saturday found me donned in workout gear and kneepads while I followed the kids through tunnels, ventilation shafts, down slides and into all sorts of passages. A hole in the floor big enough to just fit my shoulders? Yep, let's go explore! An air duct only big enough for me to barely crawl through on all fours? Sure! A 5-story slide? No problem! A 10 - story slide? Ummm.......yes.
I climbed through a shaft that was three floors up and looked down onto the main floor below. I army crawled through tunnels that were barely big enough for my body to fit through, lit by either a tiny flashlight or black light. Everywhere we were moving, climbing, pulling, shifting, fitting, crawling, twisting.
The place was totally miraculous.
At one point during the day, the most miraculous thing happened to me. I realized that I wasn't worrying. I wasn't thinking about work. I wasn't anticipating what was going to happen the next day, week or month. I was just BEING. And it was INCREDIBLE. Everything around me a was new and exciting and so physical that I was completely in the present the entire day.
I PLAYED all day. I really played - with my kids and my husband. I felt true joy and left the City Museum feeling lighter, exhausted and deeply happy.
My practice is to remember that joy and the feeling of presence at night when I'm playing Uno with some of the people I love most in the world.
I'm grateful for them and I'm grateful for you.