Play - something amazing

Something amazing has just happened. I still haven't got my head round it, but hopefully sharing it here will help.

I am learning to play!

Context: I am 65, an OAP (ha ha ha) and I've been depressed all my life, from early infancy. I'm also an only child, which didn't help me at all. Don't know how I got so lucky, but I have a fantastic husband and 2 wonderful children, now in their 30's. When the kids were born I already knew much about my depression and I promised myself (and them) that they wouldn't suffer because of it. They did, of course, in many different ways, but never to the extent that their mental health was destabilised. But that's another story.

I slowly learned from my children that they liked to play - and it left me completely out of my depth. My experience of play was limited to reading, doing jigsaws and doing crosswords. Also knitting, which my mother taught me when I was 4. Fortunately my husband knew what to do, how to tease and tickle and join in doing silly things.

But who defines silly? You see by the time I was 8 I already thought that the things that other children were doing were just "silly". Basically,I had no idea how to play, how to have fun. I dreaded being invited to birthday parties and in fact my mother must have dreaded them too, because by the time I was 9, I was only obliged to go to one party (a distant cousin) and I was allowed to sit in the background while the other kids played - yes "silly" games.

Well, now I'm a grandmother. Our granddaughter is 10 months old and she has wonderful parents who play with her. She's happy and curious and she expects me to play with her too. She's literally teaching me to play!!! And to shriek and to giggle and to be - OMG - silly!

And today I realised that I was really playing for the first time in my life. And I felt such a deep happiness. Tears in eyes just now. I'm thinking, how can I be a complete adult when I've never been a child? I am so grateful for this insight and for the opportunity that my granddaughter has brought to me.

In the words of Bob Dylan "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now"


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10 Replies

  • I am so pleased for you :) relax and enjoy every minute.


  • :) enjoy x x x x

  • What a lovely blog. So very pleased for you and enjoy your playtime from now on in. xx

  • Many thanks for the lovely comments. I've had a little time to reflect on what happened yesterday and I truly believe this is a big tuning point for me. It seems to me that play must be an essential part of healthy development for a child and (dare I say it?) I believe that the very root of my depression lies in the fact that no-one played with me in infancy or early childhood. I'm not saying that's all there is to it, but I think it made me vulnerable, so that when difficult events happened I was more susceptible to depression.

    I don't know anything about the relationship between play and healthy development (must find out more), but I really believe I'm on the right track.

  • Well done for an amazing story, so insightful and for many, so true. Keep on playing, laughing and enjoying! :)

  • HI Plaits, you sound like a lovely person, I guess our childhood influences us, but I would not dwell too much on it, as it could stop you from doing other things to free that childlike playfullness. We can change all the days of our life, so thats good.

    Keep on playing and being you. Love Hannah

  • Thanks again to all for lovely comments.

    Yes, Hannah, I understand what you're saying. I think I'm embarking on a process, part of which is playing at an infantile level with my granddaughter, enabling me to get in touch with some very early feelings and hopefully moving things on. But I think it's also part of the process to see play in more adult situations, making the idea of play part of my life, in the here and now. Not sure how all this will work out, but as I said before, it's given me so much hope - something I've not had in a very long time.

  • Thank you for sharing this amazing story!!

    I always did play as a child but less than my sister and for not as long. I dont like activitys that people class as "fun" games, team building etc....fills me with dread!

    And i noticed I was no good with kids!....i just felt like an idiot if i behaved the way everyone else did, you know all silly and speaking to them funny.

    I have always been able to do this with cats though!! lol

    and even though im 25, i do have a silly sense of humor with a few of my friends (playing pranks and such)

    My friend has recently had a child who is now 7 months and it was a bit odd at 1st but now i feel so comfortable with him and trying to make him laugh. Its so rewarding!!

    I loved the Bob Dylan line!

    Again thank you for that wonderful story and i am so happy for you! :)

  • Play is essential to everyone. I do more childlike and dafter things now than I ever did as a child. A bus driver pulled away without me once and I stuck my tongue out at him in the middle of town. Boy did it feel good!

    Carry on playing,

    Bev x

  • Thats fantastic, being able to romp and play and have fun keeps us young in heart and spirit. Little children teach us so much, as they are not self conscious, its only later in life that creeps in. Keep it up , I often grap my fluffy cat and dance around the kitchen with her and its great, she purrs like mad at my madcap ways.