When, exactly, did play become work?

I remember playing with Barbies in the summertime for entire days, stopping only to eat and use the bathroom. Our Barbies would go through high school, fall in love, get married and have babies all in the course of one long, Indiana summer day. We picked wardrobes. We placed furniture. We had multiple “houses” rigged up in our room. When the day was over and it was time to go to bed, we would wake up the next morning and start again.

I have been playing house with my kids for the last 45 minutes. And I think I’m going to die. Like, DIE of tiredness. I am always the mommy. Always. I try to convince them to let me be the dog, but they won’t allow it anymore ever since that time I curled up in the corner and took a nap. I tried to tell them I was an old dog. They didn’t buy it.

I have also tried to be the baby. The sick baby who needs lots of rest. They don’t let me be the baby anymore, either.

Chickadee from A Familiar Path once wrote about how she loves to listen to her kids play. She just doesn’t always love joining in. That is exactly how I feel. I could listen to their dramatic and relational stories all day; their voices a simple melody chirping in the background while I sweep. But sometimes they are discontent being my background music. They want me to be the lead singer.

I have to force myself to sit down and play. I have to force myself to interact. Sometimes its fun, sometimes its work, but one thing is certain: I never regret it.