It’s my Party and I’ll Play if I Want To – Psalm 126:2-3

I stopped pounding on my hefty typewriter when I heard the screen door rattle and a child’s voice. “Can Terry play?”

As Robert Jack, the neighbor boy, asked mom first for my brother, then each of my siblings by name, she explained we were unavailable. It didn’t matter to him that we were in high school, and our youngest sister far beyond being interested in playing outside with a five-year-old.

Robert wasn’t shy, and we were familiar with his routine. First he’d charm us with his grin full of missing teeth, then he’d sit and wait on our back steps, singing a song he’d learned in Sunday School, until someone in my house became available to play. Sometimes he’d ask my mother, “Can you come out and play?”

Age doesn’t matter

child swim .jonkline free pixabay

Earlier this month I felt conspiratorial when I, with stripes of gray in my hair, stood at the counter at Splash! at Lively Park Swim Center asking for a 10-ticket entry packet for birthday party guests. Who would have thought I wasn’t planning a party for a child?

It was a party for me, a grandma about to turn 60, and I wanted to play. Although he’d be in his 40s now, Robert would have certainly been welcome to join us!

I spread the red tablecloth and covered it with snacks and the birthday cake my mother brought. Sitting and chatting with her on the sidelines, we relished watching people we love enjoying themselves in the water.

Most likely, even as I bounced on my inner tube against the waves with grandchildren in tow, it looked like a child’s party. And when I later pulled out my phone to take photos of my niece and her baby in the kiddie pool, it wasn’t apparent I was the birthday girl.

And it was a blast!

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:2-3 NIV).

It may have been unconventional to plan my own birthday party, but I like the idea of giving gifts on my birthday. I’m thankful for the years, the people, the blessings I’ve been given. After the party, my heart was full, and I sang a happy song like Robert’s as I drove home.

Hasn’t God done great things for us?

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

 

Parenting Tip #6 – Get Down on Their Level

Do you remember the joy of playing with an adult who loved being with you – one who would forget about personal dignity for a little while to act like a kid with you? This is was one of my father’s gifts to his children.

My favorite place to hide was under our dining table. I would squeeze between the chairs in the narrow space and duck under, tucking my toes under the hem of my skirt. As I watched my family’s legs go by, I slowed my breathing and fidgeting, feeling like quite the spy. I even decided to remain hidden until everyone left the area – so I could use the space again and again.

I got the surprise of my life one day when my father’s upside-down head appeared. He grabbed my ankle, growling like a bear, and after my initial fright we chased and laughed together. It didn’t bother me that my special place had been compromised. Dad was in my world!

grandma with kids. free duchessa.stockxchng

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).

Though this verse talks about Jesus’ humility and obedience taking him to his death on the cross, and my father’s playfulness doesn’t relate much to dying, he did show us that he enjoyed putting aside his grown-up concerns for a while to be fully involved with his children. In fact, we never doubted that he treasured these times as well.

I’m thankful to my dad for showing me our heavenly Father like he did, paving the way for me to relate to God on my own.

And I must add, from my older adult perspective, the play times I’ve enjoyed with my children, foster children, grandchildren (and random children I have the privilege to engage) are still precious treasures to me, though I’m not able to convince them I’m the scary she-bear any longer.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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