Jonas is now playing on his own…..FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME.
He’s done a pretty good job of learning to play without me over the last year, but hasn’t really been able to sustain his own play for long periods of time until recently. All of a sudden in the last few weeks, he is lost in his own little world for an hour or more at a time. His imaginative abilities have taken off. Watching him has brought to mind Montessori’s belief that play is a child’s work. He is so earnest, almost studious sometimes, as he plays, oblivious to everything else.
He still asks me to play at times, and I make sure that I still do that daily, as I think it is good for me. I find it hard to play creatively with his cars and trains and animals. I guess most of us lose that ability for imaginative play somewhere along the road to adulthood. I have the hardest time just being in the moment with him when we play. My mind wanders to things I need to get done or projects I’m working on. So, I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to take a lesson from him. And I’m trying to make playing with him the most important thing at that moment.
I have to admit, it is nice to feel a little less needed. And it’s a little bit sad to feel less needed. I mean, it’s great; it’s good for both of us. It’s so nice not to hear the pleading for someone to play as I clean the kitchen or nurse Bridget. I don’t miss that! And now I can appreciate playing with him more than I did when it was a frequent request.
I have found myself with so many mixed feelings as I journey through motherhood, and this is just one more instance. It gives me such pleasure to see them grow and excel, but I also recognize little milestones like this as one more subtle sign that all this early mothering will be done too soon. I feel the passing of time so quickly lately, and it almost frightens me because I take so much of what I have now for granted, and I don’t want to look back and say, “I missed too much in these precious years.” I know there is sweetness and hardship in each stage of life, and I do look forward to seeing what each of them become as they make their way through it. I certainly don’t want them to stay babies forever. I guess I just have a hard time letting go of things, even when I am appreciative of the change and aware that greater things are to come. I don’t think I’m even talking about play anymore.
This is probably just me getting too melancholy as I sense such a shift in the physical seasons. This started out as a little post about how well Jonas plays, and has become a small lament over the speed at which they’ll be grown and gone….despite the fact that the youngest doesn’t even sit yet, and we hope for more!
I just have a thing about time. I let too much of it slip through my fingers without savoring it, and then I wonder where it has gone. I’m always remarking to Ben, “do you realize that such and such a thing happened this long ago? It seems like such a short time ago. When that much time passes again, we’ll be forty.” He looks at me rather blankly when I say stuff like that.
As I sit typing this morning, I hear him climb out of bed, but instead of coming right down the stairs as he usually does, he has stopped to play with some farm animals and a tractor that were left in the loft last night. I wonder how long he’ll be up there.