Play Like You Mean It

Karen and the Lollipop

I had just spent the past 5 years either being pregnant or recovering from pregnancy.  I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a new born.  I had no idea what kind of music was popular in the late ’80s because all I was listening to was nursery rhymes, Sesame Street, and the sound of the swing rocking the baby back and forth.  I found great solace in my glass (turned bottle) of wine at the end of the day when everyone was finally fast asleep.

Fast forward to when the baby turned 3.  It had been 8 years since I really did anything that was just for me.  I was working, I was raising babies, and I was feeling exhausted and a bit overwhelmed — even though I really loved my babies.  And then, I joined a volleyball team.

Yes, volleyball.  I’m all of 5’1″ and definitely not someone who you would pick to be on your side.  I played tennis as a kid, but had not played since college and it was annoying to be on a court and not be able to play like the old days.  So I played volleyball!  I could only get better.

Someone had to be in the hospital for me to miss my Monday night dates with my girlfriends and playmates.  I was taking my life back, finding my giggle, and charging up all those energetic endorphins one time per week, come rain or shine.

I was taking my PLAY as seriously as everything else I was responsible for in my life.  It changed my life. It brought me back to life.  Reminding others how to play became my purpose, and it wasn’t until now that I realized that momentous mind shift saved me, and maybe many others.

As moms, we always take our role so seriously.  We are the disciplinarians, the lunch makers, the clothing buyers, the “did you do your homework” finger waggers.  But if you don’t have the “play” gene, the role model you are setting is one of perpetual purpose.  And if you don’t take the time to play, you lose real connection to why you work so hard.

As a PTA prez, every meeting was at a place where the kids had birthday parties back in the day…. we jumped on trampolines and in the foam pits, we took karate lessons and we baked and iced cupcakes. We raised a lot of money that year and our “fun”-raising meter was at an all time high.  For my 45th birthday, I had a flag football birthday party — with pink balloon goal posts.  And for my 50th, I got bat mitzvah’d and had a kid party with Karen’s Kandy Shoppe and candlelighting ceremony.

When the kids are grown, out of the house and work is on cruise control, having play already in your life is marvelous.  In one month, I’m taking 20 other “girls” to tennis camp!  Long weekend of tennis, eating, drinking, dancing and most certainly bonding.   I talk the talk and walk the walk.  What’s good for the kids – camp, summers, learn through play — is good for this misfit mom!!!

PS – Three spots left if you want to come play!!

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