This is one of my favorite photos of my mom – hysterically laughing after falling down. I realize that sounds totally mean-spirited, but I did help her – I swear! In fact, that’s my hand, reaching for hers, while my second grader gleefully snaps a photo of his Moma on the ground. 
It happened last fall; we were walking through a made-for-kids outdoor maze of tall shrubs, wooden doors and plastic tunnels. My mom could have easily walked around the big yellow tube that the kids were climbing through, but it just looked too dang fun. So she went in. And she didn’t come out. 
The narrow, six-foot tunnel was a bit more cramped than she expected and, as she was climbing through, her knee gave out and she couldn’t move an inch. I looked into the bright yellow tunnel and saw my mom there, hunched over on her hands and knees – wincing, giggling and shaking her head. Brad and I looked at each other and bust out laughing.
I handed Ryder my camera so Brad and I could grab my mom’s arms, slowly pulling her towards us, not wanting to hurt her knee any further. A little girl entered the tunnel behind her and pushed on her bottom, saying “go!” My mom yelled back, ever so politely, “Yes, thank you for that. I’m trying!” That made us laugh even harder!
I reached into the tunnel and put my hands behind my mom’s knee, nudging it forward while Brad pulled her toward him, inch-by-inch. Soon, we’d attracted a crowd of kids, all wondering how the heck a grandma got stuck in their tunnel. Finally, we got her to the edge of the opening – hallelujah! But before we could both grab her, my mom came tumbling out! There she sat, in the gravel, laughing hysterically. And Ryder, my little photographer-in-training, had the presence of mind to snap a picture that I will always cherish (and hold over her head as proof she’s insane). 
This story came to mind as I was thinking about this week’s topic for the Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop: Spend All Day Playing. It’s been stumping me a bit because I can’t remember the last time I scheduled an entire day for play. And I think that’s because it’s woven into every day already – from the work I do (which often feels like play) to having fun with my kids. I’m realizing, through this exercise, that play was one of the family values instilled in me as a child. My brother and I grew up knowing that imagination and humor were our greatest assets – not money or things. Which is probably why some of my favorite photos reflect that very thing: play + love caught on film… 
me + tru in florida
my dad and brother at a friend’s wedding
mom + brad doing 1-2-3 jump with tru
ryder w/ his papa – joyful despite a banged-up face!
me + brad goofing off at our friends’ wedding

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson