Today was a weird day at playgroup. Something was missing. Elli has been going since she was a baby and our involvement has had great value to me as a mother and Nate and Elli as kids. Since Nate has started kindergarten Elli and I go together. Elli is one of only a few girls in the group and is on the older end of the spectrum. She has one girl friend who goes, but other than that she plays with the other kids, but most of her connections are with me, Jackie (the facilitator), or her friend. Most days even when her friend is there she still interacts and asks to play with me. Today, nada. She was independent and totally happy to play with her friend. It was an odd place to be watching this play happen and not being included. I do not feel that it was an intentional leaving out, but I felt a little sad. I honestly felt a little lost. Much of my reason for going, identity even, in this group is made up around playing with my children. Today was one of those days that almost all the kids played on their own. It was weird.
It’s hard to describe how I felt. I am excited for Elli’s new sense of independence and connection. She played perfectly well with all the sharing and interactions that one could hope for. However, I somehow felt like an outsider, because much of my role in the group is changing. I had created an identity within the group around play. Today that got shifted. I sat. While this is what we all hope for at some point during motherhood, this being able to sit and visit while our children play quietly nearby, it didn’t feel like it fit quite right. I missed playing with my Ells. As much as I sometimes wish to be in my own space, I really need my play time too. As my children’s play shifts, so must mine. I fear at times this may be tough, because it may involve giving up doing something that I really enjoy doing with them in favor of doing what they enjoy now. It also has potential to bring great joy and excitement as our play changes and evolves to become more complex and challenging.