“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers
Thank you for indulging very personal posts this week as we prepare to walk my Mom home for ourselves. All writing is personal, it’s special when it’s universal so I am hoping my ramblings can bring some form of hope, laughter and light. That is the only reason that I write Cast Light, to create meaning and generate a bit of optimism if possible. If one person doesn’t feel alone, finds some light and laughter, it is more than enough.
In the preparations of the burial, mass, luncheon, we are gathering memorabilia and photos. How do you sum up 86 years accurately or completely? These last months of caregiving in particular were challenging and narrowed our view to the daily duties and obligations. I am learning a lot about anticipatory grief and now the “it’s here and real” grief. Caregiving narrowed. Funeral planning is pulling us out from mouse view to eagle view, to see the whole story, to reflect on all of the chapters not a few pages of them.
Looking at old photos, there’s a joy, ease and innocence. A presence and lightness. The place we were fully before social media, punch out polarizing angry politics, 24-hour 800 station news informing us by the minute that the world is falling apart, melting into the sea, social unrest and angst, a 3 year pandemic, othering and judgment, making money off of misery, divisiveness and division. That is not the whole story. Too narrow and small. Eagle view needed.
I am not looking for the “good old days” but I will take some aspects of it. The lightness and laughter, the ease. I see it in my great nephews smiles now and on our faces in photos back then. More of that. That’s what I am longing for and inviting in. Laughter from bowling, playing boot hockey in the alley, ding dong ditch, a 49 cent whoopie cushion (might be a dollar now).
The world has stopped now for a bit and it will never go back to before. We live in the thresholds and afters and too often stuck in befores. We must live in the present, awake and aware, open and inviting the innocence of children who are around us and who remain in us if we would welcome them home.
Don’t wait for a funeral to look at pictures, sit on a whoopie cushion and reflect on the entirety of your life. And if there are things you don’t like and can change them, do it. Today, this day, no matter what is happening, is available to each of us to make something of it. Lighten up, exercise your laughter muscles and if possible go hang out with some kids and of course dogs, same sage teachers. Embrace that ease, lightness of laughter of that kid you were before the world told you different. The world is wrong. Play may be the real work of childhood but it should also be a required master class for adults.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”- Matthew 19:14