The first time I can remember playing was in a playpen with the little girl next door.


Her name was Barby. Her mom had named her in the debutante age of the iconic doll, but in a show of defiance, had changed the spelling to make a point- a ‘point’ I think that could have been better made with the name Latoya, or Siobhan.


After that, it is a blur of playtimes; bicycle tag, Around The House, Bull Rush, Monopoly, egging houses, crank phone calls, sneaking out to meet-up with a cute boy. The games never ended.


But then they did- I grew up, and those kinds of games turned into How Many Free Drinks Can I Get At The Bar Tonight and I’d Like To See San Francisco So Who’s Going to Take Me. (Oh, the age of innocence and total self involvement. It was a shallow time. I miss you so).


The work. The bills. The clothes. The keeping-up with dating two man at once- became a game in and of itself. And I couldn’t make the long haul Thank God .


Luckily (and I mean ‘Luck’ because it was the greatest stroke of it I have ever had) I finally met my perfect flip-side and dived into his calm pool like a fish out of water.


I was HOME.


And we played- house, and world travelers, and corporate moguls, and dinner party, and sparkling conversation, and building a life, which eventually led to… playing parents.


My favorite game roll.


Our son was a very curious and hyper-focused little cus. ( Think ADHD- only the opposite).


When he was involved in anything something he would not give-it-up. Not to bathe. Not to eat. Not to sleep. Not to breathe.


Oh boy. What the Hell was going on here?


I had options: be in a constant struggle with him (no), or try to divert him (didn’t work), or insert other activities (again- a fail), take him to a shrink (nah) or… get into his head.


I chose to enter his world.


Thankfully he let me in.


His world was glorious, very organized but without any walls. There were many moving parts but a gentle kind of hum that  accompanied them. ‘Not working’ was ‘not’ in his vocabulary but every other word was- he is was a talker, and he needed to be heard. Anything was possible and everything should be tried. Failure was his motivation. Easy success only meant you hadn’t stretched the boundaries far enough (as was evidenced when he took his father’s tools and hooked our house up to cable, at the big box down the street, before we had official service. THAT brought a black Buick and two men in dark suits to our house. “Chase! What have you done now, you little devil I love you so?”).


I ‘got it’- and so did his grandfather, Pa, who gave Chase a HUGE Lego set when he was only four, and sat on the floor with us for h-o-u-r-s, as Chase built a seaport on the moon, cars that did your homework, furniture that flew, and together we discovered the universe, and the gift of knowing how to…


Play Adult


… Of which, I was reminded of, a few weeks ago when I visited the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and realized my boy wasn’t alone.


The amazing LEGO installation at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. PINIMAGE

The amazing LEGO installation at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.




  • Jessica - Wow, you could have just described my son right there. There are no simple answers to his questions (Google has become my best friend). And of course we love the Legos! 🙂 Looks like an awesome display.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was/is- mind blowing. The things that can be made out of lego’s are awesome. PS: our son grew-up to be amazing- so will yours I bet. [[hug]]ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - I play more as an adult than I ever did as a child!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes- I believe you do! Which is so wonderful Carol. You only live once! Might as well have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - Sometimes I think it would be a relief to let myself be self-involved occasionally… because you are completely right, it’s not something you really get to do once you’re a mom. But really I need the chance to lighten up, to spend time on frivolous things. With my kids or without them, either way. It’s hard sometimes because my guys are still little, but we’re working on it- trying to make sure that at least some of my time is geared toward laughing and silliness and not ALWAYS trying to make every minute “count.”

    Stopping by from Bloppy Bloggers.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Have any truer words ever been spoken? I don’t think so! Yes- trying to make every minute count is impossible. Somehow I had a revelation as a younger mom that all I could do was my best- and that included just relaxing, and playing, and letting things goooooo sometimes. I have tried to perfect my imperfections- aka: RELAX. Hahaaa. Great to see you here!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Yes! We get so caught up in the stresses and responsibilities of adult life, that we forget to have fun and play. We only get one ride on the merry go round of life. We should enjoy it while we’re on the ride! Great piece. Thanks for the reminder!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My pleasure! And in full disclosure- I STILL have to remind my self from time to time!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I find that wonderful and extraordinary that he is so focused and doesn’t let success stop him from striving to achieve more!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He really is AMAZING. It’s not that he’s NOT satisfied, it’s just that he wants to do and learn more all of the time. He’s my hero- as are your Big and little A’s!ReplyCancel

  • Lana - Love this post! My younger son was a lego fan as well, and could sit for HOURS working on a creation. He would love to see this installation – thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think LEGO sponsors these installations all over the country (smart, btw). Check your area or swing by Cleveland, Ohio. There are a lot of great things to do!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe Jeffreys - My son is so much like me. And I fought it for years because I didn’t want him to have the problems in life that I’ve had. I wanted him to be like me, but the better version that was perfect. In other words, nothing like me. And then I realized that he’s himself. And if I want into his world I’d better stop superimposing myself on it and insisting he be entirely different. And it’s been a blessing every since.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Such discoveries are better late than never.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I think if more parents were like you the world would be a beautiful place.ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Amazing child and most likely an amazing adult these days. His world has no boundaries, which means the possibilities are endless. I am in awe of folks like that.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Lego. Best toy ever! (Unless you step on it!) I think your son and my sons would have gotten along famously!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Not to be a ditto but I agree with Rena that more parents should be like you. ReplyCancel

  • Tana Bevan - Sweet memories of your darlin’. Thanks for sharing. Does he still enjoy Legos?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - We just talked about this and he said he misses playing with them. I think I’ll surprise him with a kit soon! He’s 29!!ReplyCancel

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