On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon.

I know, it’s Saturday. But I’m happy that PLAYING is my excuse for the Mothering Muse post delay. Hee.

One thing is certain about becoming/being a parent: it AWAKENS us and gives us another chance to PLAY, to relearn the LANGUAGE of play. I absolutely love this radio episode from Speaking of Faith/On Being in 2009: PLAY, SPIRIT, AND CHARACTER, a conversation between Krista Tippett and Dr. Stuart Brown. I’ve listened to it several times, and again this week. When you are up late (or early) and drinking a cup of tea or catching up on email, plug in some ear phones and listen. I know you will enjoy.

Dr. Brown defines play in a few ways including, “spontaneously done for it’s own sake. Appears purposeless. Produces joy.” He also highlights how through play, children learn empathy, trust, irony and problem solving. For any mamas of boys, I think you will appreciate the discussion related to “rough and tumble play”. I enjoyed this perspective. I think I’m naturally pretty good at playing, but with my daughter, I appreciate her constant invitation to let go of my “to do lists” and into spontaneity and creativity.

Dr. Brown says it beautifully when he says, “we catch a glimpse of the Divine” when we watch our children play. Since we live rural, we often play with Tulsi and have a couple days a week when we meet up with her kid friends. Today, we had a surprise — a few hour visit with our neighbor’s 4 yr old granddaughter. When Sylvia arrived, Tulsi took her hand and led her into the house. WIthin seconds, one was the baby and the other was the mama and so much beauty, charm, wit and hilarity followed. I stayed my distance and just listened and enjoyed. At one point, Tulsi cried because her friend didn’t want to be a mousie with her. She came up to me and said, “Mama? Is it ok if I turn Sylvia into a mousie with my magic wand?” Hee.

Presently, Tulsi is really into making potions with flower petals, pinecones, river water, rocks and seeds, and I take full advantage in suggesting “another potion” with a walk thru the forest and up to the creek to find the appropriate ingredients. We both get lost in imagination, nature, art and storytelling. When we are around the homestead tending to the garden or preserving food, we have gotten into acting out books — all her idea — and with acting these out ten times or so and swapping roles, she gets to experiment with voice, point of view, how words and choices make her feel and how they make me feel. Some of her top book choices lately have been: Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan and Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems.

I’m always interested in hearing what + how other kids and mamas play…Will you share? I hope so!