My daughters would never know how much I like to build LEGOS with them if I never actually do it. I might have the internal experience of liking the idea, I might tell them that it sounds really fun but I have a million things to do right now. Or, I can decide to take 15 minutes and just do it. Note to self, it doesn't have to take all afternoon!
The kindergartener actually said to me, "Everything's more fun when there's a grownup!" Write it down. Laminate it. Put it in a time capsule for her twelfth birthday. Heart effectively melted.
How has it occurred that I stopped playing with my daughters? True, they are so self-entertaining with their built-in buddy system. Since the younger one learned to reliably navigate the stairs, my interactions with their play have mainly been keeping them supplied with materials, providing some appreciative comments when they report on their current pretend milieu, and telling them when it's clean up time. I suppose I came to rely on their (mostly) contented alone time as sisters.
Sure, occasionally they might ask me to play house, which I would peripherally participate in while continuing chores. Or, I might assist in dressing a doll or help set up the science kit materials, that kind of thing. However, this week I realized it's been a long time since I gave them full focus and played like a kid.
I don't think it's a parenting requirement to play with their stuff, not at all. However, I actually have fun when I do! The thing is, I always guilt myself out of it. I need to be productive. There's dishes and cooking and always writing to do. I'll lose momentum. Today, however, I actually let myself just accept their invitation without multitasking.
I was rewarded with that gem of a quote, and you can bet this grownup is going to be having a little more fun this summer.