On Becoming a Mom Who Plays

 

Sometimes you have to break out the running man when a Vanilla Ice song plays. Every husband should occasionally be splashed by his wife’s impulsive cannonball … Laughing together is the best marriage offers, in my opinion. Fun is so underrated. Fun is powerful glue. Fun helps us like each other, not just love each other. Life will deliver plenty of struggles: we need not manufacture grown-up, sober moments. We’ll get those in spades. Let us inject marriage with silliness and laughter and funny board games and dumb movies and ridiculous dance moves at a cousin’s wedding.
~Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

One time when Chris and I were dating, we were at Costco. We had Chris’ little “brother” with us, a 13-year-old kid from urban Denver. The two of them were having a good time, goofing around, laughing and skipping together down the long warehouse aisles.

I was mortified.

I mean, can you imagine? A 39-year-old man, investing in the life of a teenage boy growing up without a father, confident enough in himself that he is willing to set aside his own pride to show this boy he’s worth it.

How embarrassing.

As I write this now, I am overwhelmed with shame. It breaks my heart to think about how self-conscious I was and how that embarrassment invalidated Chris. In my insecurity, I was totally blind to what a great man was standing – or skipping – right in front of me.

I know many women that would give anything to have a man with that kind of heart.

But in my own brokenness and pride, I was totally obsessed with the opinion of strangers and was worried about what other people would think of me, being with a man who would skip through a store.

Here’s what I didn’t recognize.

He still knows how to have fun. He’s a grown man who knows how to let go of the uptightness that adulthood brings and tap into the childlike freedom of silliness.

Somewhere on the road to adulthood, I lost that.

And then when I could no longer find it, I started judging it in others.

As I’ve recognized my own inability to let go and be silly and carefree, I’ve longed for it. I watch him connect with our children in a way I can’t. Or won’t. Or don’t know how.

My son asks me to play ninjas with him. He’s five. If I told him I didn’t know “how to be a ninja” he’d look at me like I’d grown a second head.

In his world not knowing is not even a thing.

What do you mean you don’t know how? Just be one. Be sneaky and make karate chops with your hands and feet. What’s not to know?

2017-08-17_08-06-41_062My husband is the favorite parent at the kindergarten drop off line because he plays with them. He walks up holding Tyce upside down. He gets down on his knees to “box” with him.

He tickles and hugs and laughs and the other kindergarten boys in line literally throng to him.

Eight years into this marriage, I am learning to love this rare ability my husband has to connect with his inner child and have fun.

Here’s to finding my own inner child again someday.

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