Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Wednesday, April 04, 2007
The other day I took Archer down to La Jolla Cove when we were staying with my parents in San Diego. The seals come to the Cove to play and on this particular day the beach was covered with mothers and their calves. It was poignant for me because I must have visited the cove a hundred times in my life. Maybe more. But this was the first time I had brought Archer there. The first time I had ever seen the mothers with their new calves.
"Just like us!" I thought.
Archer and I watched from above as they chased after one another, making great waves with their fins. They nuzzled faces on the shore before pushing off awkwardly toward the water. Flapping around on their bellies toward the sea. Making waves. Having fun. Diving through the kelp garden and curling around rocks and playing hide and seek.
There was a not a mother seal in sight that wasn't playing. Not a mother who wasn't watching from the perimeter. Text-messaging her colleague or her husband. It was pure and natural and beautiful.
I am as guilty as anyone for being distracted from one world by another... Blackberry in my front pocket. Texting with one hand, pushing Archer on the swing with another.
It is a constant juggle for most parents and that's okay. But on this particular day I decided to take notes. To put my phone away and to lie in the grass and watch Archer splash puddles and get dirty and laugh. To live in the moment. Stop thinking about the book and how to fix the issue with chapter six. Stop thinking about the messages that are piling up and the emails and work... Stop... AND LOOK!
We have a lot to learn from nature. From watching the great creatures in the wild getting dirty in the sand with their babies. Making a mess. Joining in the fun. Chilling the fuck out and enjoying life, mud-splattering puddles and all.
Because nature truly is our greatest mother, and if she has any parenting tips for us, I do believe it has to do with getting off our computers and phones and playing. Really playing.
Our kids are growing up during a time so saturated in technology, their physical lives, I feel are at stake. It's a dangerous time for make-believe and rolling around in the grass. A dangerous time for parents, constantly struggling with distractions-- pulling away from our physical selves not to mention our children. Is play a dying art or just a soon-to-be forgotten one? Either way, it's pretty scary what has happened. What is happening.
It's easy to forget but I think, so important for us to put away our phones and computers and Blackberrys once in a while and get all dirty like. Because if we can't do that than what is the point? Of blogging and writing books and doing business and pulling in new clients? What's the point of even getting out of bed? Of having a family?
Children don't remember how their parents provided for them but they do remember climbing trees at Balboa park. They sure remember riding Dad across the beach like a pony and making mud pies after the rain.
And so I've decided that playing needs to be first priority. I'm pretty sure everything else can wait.