How to Play with a Baby
“What happened to your knee?” my daughter Laura asked.
I glanced down and noticed a red, raw spot on my left knee. “Carpet burn, I guess,” I answered with a shrug. “Abel and I have been racing up and down the hallway.”
“Oh, you poor thing!”
“Naw,” I replied, “anything to hear his cackle!” Therein lies the truth. I’ll do anything to get a two-toothed grin, a chortle, or a cackle out of my eleven-month-old grandson.
We race up and down the hallway on our hands and knees (he almost always wins). I disappear around doorways (still on hands and knees), and say, “Boo!” when he pokes his head around the corner.
We go for long walks outside (rain or shine) and we talk about all the beauty God has created. When Abel starts to fall asleep, I twirl around and sing “This is the Way the Lady Rides.” (Laura’s new neighbor’s must wonder at the sanity of that crazy lady cavorting around the road wearing a baby on her front…). When we arrive back home, my knees ache.
He babbles nonsense sounds with adult intonation, and I babble right back. When he clicks his tongue, I respond in kind. We blow raspberries. I build block towers and scream in mock horror when he crawls over and knocks them down.
He crawls into my lap and we read books. Then he crawls out of my lap and reads books on his own. When nap time rolls around, I feel exhausted—both physically and mentally.
This is the reason I run marathons, exercise, and stay healthy—so I can play with my grandchildren.
Another Kind of Play
All that play makes me think of my heavenly father. According to Psalm 37:23, God delights in us, his children. He doesn’t just delight in an, ‘Oh, how cute’ sort of way, either. God delights in every detail of our lives. And that means play.
Sure, studying God’s love letter brings him delight. But as a grandma, I delight in the presence of my grandson—he won’t write letters for years to come. To get close to him, I enter in to Abel’s play. Does God want any less for us?I like to think of the great outdoors as God's playground. #BGBG2 #fmfparty Click To Tweet
I like to think of the great outdoors as God’s playground. When I venture out, I go to play. I stop to smell flowers. I squat down and search for four-leaf clovers. Bird song arrests my progress, and I pause to listen for my friends.
When I go outside, whether to hike, bike, run, or bird, I go with the intention of spending time with the Creator. I leave my ear buds at home. My to-do list stays on the desk. A funny thing happens, though. As I play in God’s presence and delight in his creation I hear the unchained rhythm of his grace. I discover that I have more energy for my lists.The rest that comes from creation play creates space in my mind for deeper thoughts. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to wait for a sunny day. Throw on a raincoat and enjoy the patter (or pelting) of rain on your hood. Stomp in puddles and giggle at gulls. Breathe in the fragrance of wild roses, and watch worms wiggle.
Know that God delights in you. Yes, he wants your devotion in the form of prayer, study, and service. But he also wants you to take time to bask in his love—to play with him in his creation.
Go ahead and twirl in the confidence that he delights in us and every move we make in his presence brings a smile to his face.
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