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


The party for my mom’s memorial was Saturday and we had a wonderful time. We had over ninety people at the open house and we were fortunate to see friends and family from far and wide that we don’t often get to see anymore. We caught up on each others lives, looked at photos and videos, and it was very healing to hear people say so many kind things about my mom.

The day before the gathering I had asked my dad if he was looking forward to the party and he said no, he was afraid that it would be too emotional, that there would be too many “sobbing people”. I reassured him that it wasn’t going to be that kind of memorial and it wasn’t. While a few tears were shed, there was mostly laughter and hugs as we all came together to honor my mother’s seventy-four years of a life well lived. The photo above is of my sister Carrie and her daughters, Emily and Jenny, and their little dog Lola. They flew in all the way from warm sunny San Diego so we ordered them up some snow for Sunday…the day after the party;)

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. ~Robert Frost