24 June 2008

Playing Pretend

I've forgotten how to play.

I re-discover this every time I come home. Board games, I can do; reading books aloud, sure; drawing maps and making up stories, no problem. I can build sandcastles and Lego castles without batting an eyelash. Croquet and badminton are fun. We can go on a hike and I'll have a blast. Basically, give me a set of rules or some clear objective, and I'm up to the task.

But when it comes to open-ended free time, just "playing pretend," I feel lost. "Let's go outside and play!" What does that mean? I can invent a whole world on paper, and tell all sorts of stories about adventures in my head, but I have no idea how to act them out. I guess I used to be able to immerse myself in a made-up world and become an Arctic explorer, pirate captain, or Amazon warrior princess all afternoon. Not anymore. If I try, I just feel fake, and nobody has much fun.

Sometimes I feel that I'm letting my little siblings down because I can't sincerely "pretend" with them. And I worry that someday, I'll be a bad mom if I don't learn how to play in a different way. But then I remember that my gracious Lord gives the ability and inspiration for everything to which He calls His children. He has already enabled me to do (and to enjoy doing) so many things, like writing stories that little children love, and showing them how to make grilled cheese, and reading books to them in a big fluffy chair.

So if I'm ever supposed to be an Arctic explorer, I guess He'll tell me how to do it.

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