context and meaning

July 13, 2011

The Jude's trick du jour right now is beckoning, "Come on!" with a wave of the hand. "Dada, come on!" "Mama, come on! Cars!" and we're asked to get down on the floor to play or sit next to him and eat a sandwich. "Come on!"

It's totally adorable but also hard for me to watch. As an only child I spent a lot of my years saying, "come on!"  Barring this one exceptional subject I enjoyed being an only and have no complaints about it, but "come on!" takes me back to a place where I so desperately wanted my parents to come play with me. How I hated having to constantly ask and beg for it and how disappointed I was at being turned down.

Now on the flip side I understand not wanting to play 'dolphin pool' for five hours, this is not a criticism towards my parents. Hardly any adults I know have the stamina or desire to get down in the trenches and play with kids– but that also hurts my heart a little bit. I don't want to be so dull, so "adult," that I've forgotten how to sit down, be in the moment and just play. I don't want to admit I'm so far removed from what shaped my best memories.

I've never shared this confession with Jon who, as one of eight kids, probably has no idea what that kind of childhood solitude is like. He doesn't understand when I get mad, huffing mad, when he doesn't get down on the floor and play with Jude after work. I encourage him under the guise that it's important to reconnect as a family, because it is. However the reality is that right now it's probably more important to me than to Jude.

So yes, every time he says "come on!" and smiles at me I go play on the floor. Every time. You want to be together? You got it. It won't last long enough. I don't know what all this means, exactly, but stopping to play is a priority for me if for no other reason than because I keenly remember what "come on!" meant to me and I want it to mean something different for him. Our pasts shape the way we parent the future in very strange ways.
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