I have something to admit. I’m not very much fun. I used to be, in fact it is fair to say that I may have used up all of my fun quota well before I had kids. I could say I don’t know what it is. But, really, I’m no fun because I have this huge list of things that must get done every day and my goal is to plug through them as meaningfully as possible. Fun, well, I don’t let myself do much of that because when I get a moment to breathe it is my theory that moment is best spent sleeping.
Lately, though, Ken and I have been talking about time well spent in terms of having fun with our kids. It’s the only thing our oldest daughter ever asks of us, “I just want you to have fun with me.”
I had trouble stomaching the “You’re not very much fun” talk from him. Really, how could he possibly think I’m not fun? I take our older kiddo everywhere. We explore. We talk. We learn together. That’s fun right?
That’s not what he meant.
What he was trying to tell me is that I rarely stop to laugh with her, just be goofy, play games, make up songs, do something that is totally not on the list but has the greatest value of all – it’s an amazing, authentic moment that just popped up and made us all hum from its happy vibe for a while after.
I take life waaaayyyy too seriously. So does he at times. So, we agreed that all the time we spend being grumpy is now going to be spent laughing a bit more, letting things roll off our backs and making lots more time for genuine fun in our house.
You’d think we’d found the fountain of youth or something with the effect it has had on our house as a whole. Just the smiling factor has changed the vibe around here 10 fold.
But, I have to say that the proof was shown to me in about two hours last night. There we were, a normal day, except that the big kid got to pick out what she wanted for dinner – and then cook it all by herself “with supervision.” She let us all know that cooking dinner with mom was the best thing about her day.
Then, it was time for the real fun. She and I spent nearly two hours on the XBox 360 Kinetic surfing, boxing, space walking, playing soccer and more. It was hilarious, we couldn’t stop howling, or hugging, or feeling like we’d just had one of those non-manufactured moments that was just plain fun.
It changed us a bit. She told me while getting ready for bed that she was happy to see me smile again and that I looked prettier than before. She reminded me that playing is for everybody and she wished I did it more. Hell, I didn’t even want to go to sleep after that, a first in a while.
That tiny person with such a big heart showed me how little I valued genuine fun and how much any family needs it, that it makes us whole and gives us something to love between us.
It may not happen every day. But, those moments like last night are going to be a priority in my life from now on. How could they not be? I’ve never seen a kid with a bigger smile.