One afternoon when Rascal was three, he complained about how I had not played with him all day. My reply was something like, “Are you crazy? I took you to the park and we played all morning!” He answered with what was then his longest sentence ever, “Going to the park and talking to the other Mommies is not playing.”

Ouch, right? It still stings to think about it, but it was such a clear and simple lesson–the kind that only your child can deliver. So today, like many days, I carried the memory in my pocket next to my keys and phone. Every time I felt tempted to hurry the kids along, or do a quick email check, or engage another Mom in random chit-chat, I instead turned my eye, my attention and my playfulness to the little ones swinging and laughing right in front of me.

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