Have you forgotten how to play?

Have you noticed how fast time flies when you are busy? You know what I mean. when it feels like your tail doesn't touch the ground. Well, herein you learn the reason.

I've been a bit of a globe trotter really. At the end of February I went to the UK for my son's wedding. I was so blessed to be the mother of the groom and was I ever-so-proud of my son. Seeing him glow when his beautiful bride entered the venue - the love they shared for each other was so obvious! And was it ever a fantastic wedding. partying for hours. I am sure they will have a long and happy life together, and I am delighted to welcome his lovely wife into our family.

I also had another joy too. I went over with my other son, and how wonderful it was to be looked after. You know, all the years we look after our children we forget that we eventually get back more than we ever gave them. I know I found being a parent really difficult on occasion, especially after I became a solo parent, but at times like this I realise it was all worth it - the disappointments have all been forgotten, and we remember only the joys. The only regret was my daughter couldn't be at the wedding, but I know we will have other family gatherings when we can all be together. This is life.

I had only been back a week and I was off to Christchurch for Easter. There I was blessed with the joy of friends. The friends I stayed with I met when my children were little, and they have remained true friends throughout my life. We make only a handful of these friends throughout our lifetime, and they are to be treasured. We can share in their joys, like becoming grandparents for the first time, and in our children's weddings. All of these make our lives so joyous. Just check in for yourself on how joy plays out in your life. What has been a joyous and fun time for you in the last week, the last month, the last year? So often we forget these little things that happen all the time.

One of the joys I would like to share happened to me at Easter. I was just about to board the plane in Christchurch to return to Auckland when I received a call from my son to say he had just been to my house and there was a little white rabbit running around. My first thought was "where did it come from?" Then he went on and said, "He told me that he has hidden 10 Easter eggs in your house and you had better find them before the ants do." This created such joy for me, for many reasons. Here are some:

· It took me back to a time when I was 5 years old and we went to Rangitoto Island for Easter. It was my birthday and the highlight was the hunt for the Easter eggs that were hidden in the bach (holiday house)

· My son and daughter thought of me at Easter and went out and got all these Easter eggs for me. I still buy Easter eggs for them, and gave them to them before I went away, but I had no idea they were going to do this for me. No I didn't eat them all, I had more joy in giving some of them away.

· I had the opportunity to play. The anticipation and excitement of something to look forward to; even though I was tired, I still had a smile on my dial as I went through the house looking for those chocolate eggs.

· And the excitement in my son's voice when I rang to tell him I had only managed to find 9! He had done such a good job, I couldn't find the last one.

So the message this month is, don't take life too seriously all the time. Find time to play, laugh and enjoy yourself. And finally - it is always okay to let the child come out and play, no matter how old you are. Remember, happiness is an inside job.



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