My mum worked as a playtherapist for the NHS. This month the British Association of Playtherapists sent a copy of her obituary, which they published in their magazine. It was beautifully written and I am so grateful for it, but it wasn’t easy to read. I don’t know if you have ever read an obituary of someone you know. I hadn’t. Obituaries are a glorious celebration of life and achievement, but as a document they feel so black and white, so final.
I am only just realising the impact mum had on the lives of so many families and children. Mum tended to play down her work, (just noticed the pun there, ridiculous but I’m keeping it). Through play, mum guided hundreds of children and families through difficult times.
My mum played tirelessly. It seemed to be effortless for her to get down to a child’s level and be led by them. I’ve met few people so childcentred in their approach. After teaching for many years she found her true vocation in play therapy.
This week I tried to take my son to pre school gymnastics. He took one look and ran out the door. At first I tried to pull him back, listening to some seriously dodgy, old school parenting voices in my head, saying I mustn’t let him give up and that it was wrong to let him get away without trying.
And then I heard my mum’s voice saying ‘childcentred’. So I followed him outside and let him swing in the railings. It wasn’t gymnastics, but it was an impressive kind of parkour. In fact I think he could be the next pre school parkour champion. Before long he had started digging and found a worm. Then a ladybird crawled across my bag and we sat together passing it back and forth between us giggling as it tickled us.
The sort of activities my mum absolutely relished. It is so easy to get lost in the sea of parenting voices, but this week I found my anchor.
Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors. Feel free to link up a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy.
Pop over to the The Gallery at Sticky Fingers where the theme is inspirational people.