Today was a day set apart for family play. The college students are on break this week allowing Jeff to take a few days off after a couple of pretty intense weeks of the RA selection process. Jay Peak opened an indoor water park this year and the kids had been requesting to go. These factors combined with a buy one get one free ticket deal from a local convenience store made the conditions right for a midweek adventure. We had a great day enjoying each other’s company and the fun of the park.
Family play is important to us. Most of the time it’s not as grand as today’s adventure. Often it’s a game played out in the yard. Whatever it is, it gives us a chance to enjoy each other. For Jeff and me it provides us a chance to focus totally on Nate and Elli, giving the rest of our week’s tasks more meaning. This connection is so important. Play gives us a time to focus on fun, helping to give life meaning that refreshes us (Brown & Vaugan, 2009). Family play also serves to connect Jeff and me as a couple. There is a delight in planning and pulling off something special together to benefit our kids. Throughout the day we caught each other’s eye sharing our love for each other and our children.
|Family Outing to the Lake Champlain|
Maritime Musuem last summer.
As I write this I find myself very tired. Five hours of bobbing around in the water will do that to you. However, I cannot help but journal about Miss Ells today. She was so delightful. She spent a large part of her day prancing around the lazy river (which is only lazy if you happen to be on a tube – this 30 inch deep river through the park has a pretty fast current!). Elli tends to prance or twirl almost everywhere she goes. Where she gets her gracefulness I do not know. Today she discovered a sense of reduced gravity as her life jacket kept her buoyant longer and the current moved her little body rapidly forward. Each prance propelled her forward in a way that she had never experienced before. Her face was radiant and she was totally captured by this experience for most of our time at the Pumphouse. She was beautiful! Even the guards noticed her delight and smiled as she passed by.
Elli’s prancing demonstrates an important benefit of play. Play allows us to experiment with our bodies. Elli’s body moved differently today in moving water than it did last week in the swimming pool and she noticed. She quickly learned how to adjust her body to keep water out of her face as well as to get maximum enjoyment out of each bounce. She experimented with letting the current move her while she was going forward or backward. She practiced her floating in the slower sections. Play teaches us so much about our bodies, and the more we play physically the more we’ll find that our bodies increase their capacity to move.