This week, my youngest son Liam turned 2. It’s hard to believe! We still think of ourselves as “new” around here, but to think that Liam wasn’t even born when we arrived in Harris County seems incredibly strange. His birth seems like it really was just yesterday, and as we prepare for baby #4, I’m left wondering how quickly time has gone. People remind me constantly that kids will be in college in a blink of an eye, and I’m really thinking they are right if the last 2 years are any indication.

liam drawing

For his birthday, I drew this picture of him. Like most of my drawings, I’m not completely happy with it. I struggle with shadows and light, and am not sure I captured the bottom half of the drawing correctly. I plan to go back and do some more work on it. But I think I got his eyes right, and most artists will tell you that’s the most important part. I used a picture as reference, but to me, this is what my third born looks like. Thumb in mouth, doe-eyed and innocent.

By no provocation by his father, Liam is really into superheroes. For his birthday, Molly made him a Captain America cake, and just about everything he got was superhero related. The real treat for me was buying him a bunch of superhero action figures. I haven’t played with action figures in years, but remember spending hours in my room setting up battles with my G.I. Joes and Star Wars figures. Now I see little Liam, with a 4-inch Superman in his hand, making the noises of flight as he zooms through the house.

Last night, after the kids were in bed, all the action figures we on the living room floor. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, and Lex Luthor were just sitting there waiting to be picked up and played with. So, I did! What an epic battle it was! Soon, Wolverine and Captain America had joined in the fight, too. For a good 20 minutes, I sat there with my imagination, acting out the most epic battle ever fought with precision choreography.

Every once in a while, I think it’s healthy to revert back to that 8-year-old child who plays. “Play” is so essential to a life that can get all too serious. I imagine that at Creation, instead of a serious God who stoically orders the world into being, that God looked a lot more like a kid taking out toys from some cosmic chest and laughing as he arranges them on the floor of his celestial bedroom. Well, that’s how I like to imagine it…

The other day, I was at the doctor’s office and the television had on one of those angry, loud news networks. We don’t have cable at our house, so I’m typically free from this. But in the doctor’s office, you’re pretty much forced to watch this stuff. I’m not singling out one channel over another, because they all seem more interested in talking over one another and being rude, all under the guise of “healthy debate.” If only those folks had a few action figures to play with, I believe life would be much more enjoyable for them!

Having kids makes it easy to remember to play once in a while. I hope that even in serious times, when my kids are all grown, I will allow myself the grace to play. Approaching life a little more lighter, with joy, imagination, and a good sense of humor is crucial to navigating this world that can easily depress us.

If we all grow up as fast as my kids are growing up, then we all lose that ability to play all too quickly. So take some time to play. Pull out a box of old toys, and use your imagination. Do it in that place where only God can see you, and maybe even imagine God playing with you. I’m pretty sure your day will be better.