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Why we should never stop having fun and playing games with our kids

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So, this picture captures so much of what I love about life. First of all, this is me playing hoops with my oldest nephew, who has somehow, at the age of 12, grown as tall as me. It may look like I still have some basketball hops for a 51-year-old, but I can assure you I don't have much else left of my game from back in the day. After ACL reconstruction in high school and six subsequent knee surgeries to try and fix the oops of a failed rehab, I've gone through my life with a permanent limp, unable to straighten or bend my knee fully. I have a hard time doing many things these days, but I was able to get a little one-on-one with this guy down in Hilton Head a couple of weeks ago. Even though it was more like me hobbling around throwing up junk and him going easy on his olderish aunt, the experience was a gift that keeps on giving in the memory bank.

That's what carefree timelessness does for our soul. Each experience settles into our being for safekeeping, acting as a reserve of goodness to call upon when we need a mental or emotional boost. Having a stockpile of happy vibes to pull from is why we should never stop playing games and having fun as adults. It's especially why we should never stop playing with kids because their innocence and infectious carbonation bubbles out and quenches our thirst for joy and contentment.

As exhausting as it was when my kids were little, I really miss the hours and hours of playtime. The days of hide-and-seek, piggyback rides, capture the flag, and endless rounds of Simon Says. These fun-filled moments keep us young and full of life.

Thankfully, my brother and sis-in-law have six kids, and my nephew is the oldest. Our last trip was round-the-clock days packed full of card games, bike rides, sports, exploring, and imagination, et al. I'm still tired in every amazing way. And also bored out of my skull now that I'm back in my empty nest. Gah. I need some more kids.

Mommas, we need to seek these experiences out whenever we can, no matter how old we are, no matter how banged up our bodies are, no matter our skill level. The world is a giant playground full of adventure. Kids know this. We often forget. Let's do our best to remember.


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