The Lost Art of Play

The Lost Art of Play

23 - Childhood

I have always been a hoarder collector.  As a young child, I had a rock collection, a Hello Kitty collection, a Kelly Doll collection, a “nature” collection, a Beanie Babies collection…the list goes on.  One of may favorite collections, however, was my magnetic Polly Pocket town.  I had every piece of the set (except for the candy shop that the eBay seller failed to ship), and it was ubiquitously set up on a table in my bedroom. 

I remember asking my mom to play with me one afternoon.  “I’m not good at playing dolls,” she replied, but she sat down on the floor next to me and picked up a small, bendable girl.  At the time, I did not understand how someone could be bad at playing dolls.  It was a simple pleasure in my juvenile mind.  You simply selected a doll, named her, and pretended.

Tonight, a three-year-old girl asked me to play dolls with her.  I selected a baby, named her Katy, and pretended.  I now know what it is like to be bad at playing dolls.  My doll was too realistic.  She wanted food.  She wanted to sleep.  She cried for her mom.  The young girl I was playing with constantly corrected my “baby talk” and pretending skills. 

When did I forget how to play?  When did dolls change into objects instead of friends?

When did my day-dreams turn from make believe stories of princesses to mental to-do lists? 

When did I lose my ability to believe in the impossible?

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