I often played alone when I was a little girl. I was actually great at
independent play. My imagination was (is) wild- it runs in numerous
directions, creating stories and adventures for hours on end. It wasn’t
that I didn’t have friends to play with, I did. I just often preferred to
play alone and explore my own thoughts. But every once in a while, I
wanted to share the imaginary world that I had created with someone
You see, I had a favourite playtime partner. The kind of partner you could always rely on, the one who knew how to have just the right amount of fun and make you feel like you were literally transported to a different place, a different time, a different world.
This playmate didn’t have hours to spend with me. But the moments that we played together, felt more exciting then any marathon playtime I ever had. I vividly remember the creating, the discovering, the exchange of thoughts, my natural curiosity being utterly satisfied during our time together.
That playtime partner was my mother. This independent little girl loved to have her mother play with her. My mom never made me feel silly for the worlds I created, the games I spent hours perfecting. Instead, she joined me, seamlessly, helping me build castles, asking me about the princesses that would end up living there, running their countries with ease (little feminist I was).
Fast forward with me. My son, now 17 months old, has just discovered the world of independent play. With the rush of our busy lives, I initially was relieved. I can make dinner, sweep the floor, open mail…and he can entertain himself. But the other day, as I watched him building his own castles (or what I will assume is a castle of sorts) it took me back to my favourite playtime moments. The moments where my mom, single mom of two little girls, took the time to sit on the floor and help me create my fantasy world.
So that day, as cheese sauce bubbled on my stove, I sat down and built with my son. We talked (I talked, he babbled) and laughed and created. It was 5 minutes. But for me, it felt like time stood still. I hoped that he felt like it was special too. And it must have been because yesterday, as I was getting a snack ready for us to share, he came, grabbed my hand, and asked me to build with him…and for a few minutes, I got to share in his magical world.
And maybe, if I’m really lucky, I’ll become a favourite playmate of his as well.
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