Really Playing for Real

Really playing is something parents in this modern world find hard to do. It requires us to be completely undistracted, entirely present to what’s happening in the room at that moment, aware of the communication that’s occurring between us and our children at that moment.

This is one of the small blessings wrapped up in the current Corona panic. What a gift to see parents and children really playing together in a way we rarely see.

Walking through the park we can see mothers and fathers looking at their children with eyes of awe and wonder, taking time to really appreciate their children’s sparkle and their beauty.

Out and About

Now having the opportunity (and the urgency!) to walk out of the house together on a beautiful sunny morning with no better reason than to get some fresh air, many families are spending time together in a way they never would normally, enjoying each other’s company in an undistracted way, increasingly rare to see. Instead of simply heading to a cafĂ© or a shopping centre, instead of being divided by individual pursuits like sports clubs and gyms, families are heading out to experience the world together. Rather than the usual distractions and obligations of a busy life, like visiting the supermarket on the weekend, there’s nothing better to do than walk outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.

Not everything is horse play

Undoubtedly, this rose-tinted image is unlikely to be the same for everyone at all times but I suspect that a good number of families will be able to relate to these delightful moments of genuine connection and appreciation. They may be fleeting but no less important or worthy of our celebration.

Taking a Break

Much of my adult life I have wished that the world could stop for long enough for everyone to catch up. How I’ve dreamt of the world being placed on pause for long enough to reconsider the directions we’ve all been taking individually and collectively. Never could I have imagined that the roads and the sky would be so empty, to such a degree that the springtime birdsong could once again be heard minus the usual din of engines. (Not that the majority of people running around with headphones would even notice).

The Joy of Being Together

The other morning I witnessed a mother marvelling at her daughter who was recounting a tale whilst Mum looked on, absolutely enthralled. She gazed at her daughter as if she hadn’t seen her for years. Her whole demeanour was warm and unusually relaxed as she rejoiced in not having to be at work or anywhere else, happily walking alongside her blossoming teenager on a fresh but sunny morning.

Really Playing

Without a social media connection, I haven’t seen any of the mischief that families have been getting up to online, I hear there’s been a lot of creativity coming to the fore, but the thing I really want to celebrate here is the sight of parents really playing with their children again, outside in the parks and in the empty streets once again. Never have I seen so many families getting quality time together. Bike rides, jogging, football, hide n seek, entire households really playing together, often laughing to the point of stitches.

In the last couple of weeks I have seen fathers with the time to accompany their children’s first steps, first games and first rides on scooters and bikes. I’ve seen parents who would normally have been drained by the pressures of the day to day, patient enough to be truly present in a way that might normally have only happened occasionally, myself included.

The silver lining doesn’t really justify the cloud so I hesitate to say “Long may it last.”

Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash