play time

I had a lovely visit with a friend and her granddaughter recently and I couldn’t help but bring my camera along when I met baby Claire so I could chase her around and take a few pics. She’s a cutie and it didn’t take her long to simply ignore the strange lady with the big black camera lens stuck to her face and go about her baby busyness. I’ve noticed on Twitter and various blogs recently that some people are choosing a single word as their New Year’s resolution. I like that idea, coming up with a one word theme that we want to honor, or infuse into our lives as we begin another year. Watching Claire explore her grandma’s house that afternoon was very relaxing and even mood boosting and it reminded me how as grown-ups we often forget the importance of play. Of doing something “just because”, with no agenda, no expectation of what we will get out of an activity, what we will accomplish.

My daughter got a small white kitten before she moved out a few years ago. I was going through some difficult things at the time but “Mr. Boo” didn’t know, or care about my troubles, he just wanted me to drag a piece of string across the floor so he could chase it. As it turns out, the hours I spent sitting on the floor playing with him was good medicine because play is the opposite of depression. Dr. Stuart Brown, a pioneering researcher in the field of play, said in a TED video, “Nothing lights up the brain like play. Three-dimensional play fires up the cerebellum, puts a lot of impulses into the frontal lobe–the executive portion–and helps contextual memory to be developed.” When I start singing the blues in 2012, I’m going to remind myself of my word, “play”, and then I’ll whisper my thanks to a six month old baby girl and a little white kitten for reminding me how it’s done!

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt

17 thoughts on “play time

  1. There’s a lot of wisdom in this post – and others on your blog. Play gets short shrift, but you remind us how healthy and healing it is.

    Your photos are so well done. I’ll learn something just looking at them. You capture the moment and the person beautifully.

  2. Wonderful reminder from the baby and the kitty to PLAY! (It’s something I’m actually pretty good at.) Your photos of Claire are very special. They capture her personality.

    • Yes, I think that’s the best part about having pets, they take you out of yourself in playful ways, and of course by needing us to care for them. Both our cat (Garfield) and dog (Nikki) are gone now, they both lived until they were fifteen and had very long illnesses before they passed that really wore us down:( We are on a pet break, hoping to travel a bit, plus watching over aging parents so no pets for now.

  3. Play. I like it. I’ve been noticing a lot of this ‘word picking’ for the year too. I’m still working on what my word will be….

  4. Sweet pictures of that sweet little girl! I liked what you had to say about “play” and how it can help one fight depression. After a little time spent playing with my dogs (Rusty & Co.) I always feel uplifted.

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