As Playful As A Puppy

This weekend I had to attend some Zoom classes for my hospice and palliative care training. Four hours each day all on communication. Now I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the class it is more that they started pretty early in the morning and if you are waiting for your Spark to kick in and the instructor is requiring the course to be interactive, you tend to give input that doesn’t necessarily go with the question. This was me, I was the one that admittedly didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to the topic at hand and then I was called upon to give an example. I thought I had hit it spot on, and I did if the answer they wanted was about future goals that the client wanted, rather than how we could help in the here and now. In my defense my lack of attention wasn’t entirely my fault. I had locked myself away in my bedroom to do the classroom, but I could still hear parts of what was going on in the house.

Barking and laughter is what hit my ears just before I was asked to give the example. I had gotten some examples written down on my worksheet but in a fluster to find what was needed to be said I looked at the wrong section. No big deal though, we got through the section and I went back to actively listening, and luckily the next time I heard the laughing and barking was after my class was over. When next it did happen I was sitting on the couch when my daughter came out with Jorj’s (my dog) favorite toy filled with his favorite treat. Right in front of my eyes my dog turned into a puppy on steroids and springs. Tabby was playing keep away with Jorj’s toy and he was bound and determined to get it. He was jumping, diving and pushing up against her to get his toy. His eyes were dilated and his bark was loud. Tabby’s laughter was almost as loud as the screeches that were intermixed. Jorj jumped on almost all of the surfaces in our living room to reach his toy and was going to get it whether he knocked Tabby over or grabbed in from her hand. It was a fun game of keep away that slowed for just a bit when he finally got the toy to have it taken away again to start the game again. I love days like I had this weekend. The game Tabby played with Jorj turned into a lively board game with the family, which turned back into the keep away game with Jorj. We as a family get so busy during the week and especially now that the kids are going back into in person schooling today, our family needs days like this weekend where we just play with each other.

Some of my favorite times with my family are when we let our guards down and we just play. My hubby and son get rough and tumble with each other which draws out my middle daughter from her room to get into the mix. My oldest daughter and I tend to not be as adventurous in our game playing as the other three unless it comes to the dog and Tabby playing and then we all get out of the way. My play of choice is to get the family involved in a board game and we got some great new ones for Christmas with our favorite one being about stupid deaths and throwing soft burritos at each other (leave a comment if you want the game names). Sometimes it is so fun to play like a puppy. You get the giggles and next thing you know you are having side cramps because you are laughing so hard. I have written blog posts before about taking your cues from your pets and I am repeating that advice again today. How simple to find joy in a game of keep away, or chasing a ball. How simple to take a nap on a Sunday or go on a walk with the family. After Jorj and Tabby had finished their second round of keep away, Jorj promptly got up on his favorite couch to take a short nap. I sat next to him and the sweet boy rested his head on my arm and started to snore. I took his advice and propped my head on a pillow and started to snore away too.

Play like a puppy and then rest like one too. Joy comes from that too. Before my class ended each day the instructor instructed us to do something for ourselves the rest of the day. She knew that most of us had already worked a long week and had made it a point to give up our weekend (at least the morning) to come to class. She placed importance on taking care of ourselves. I am not sure if everyone took her advice, but I know I did. I played like a puppy, I took a nap, I exercised and I was present with my family, because of that I know I can face my week. When is the last time you played like a puppy or at least napped like one? When is the last time you were actually present with someone? When is the last time you let your guard down and just had fun? If it’s been a while, maybe you should change that hum? Until next time:

Laugh like you need it, play like a child does, and love like they deserve it. Surprise people, and see them open up to the fun.

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