PLAY is missing from most of our American lives these days. We are so busy, and play is the first thing to go when we feel rushed. But Play and Fun are critical components to childhood, and should not be brushed aside so easily. It is in play, together, that we bond and forge memories. It is in play, particularly with their fathers, that children discover their boundaries, find self control, and learn to take risks. It is in play and fun that our marriages continue to build in friendship.
My husband always insisted he wasn’t creative. I realized a few months ago that while he isn’t crafty, he is most absolutely creative. His flavor of creativity is in Play. When I see a pool noodle I think of floating in a pool. When HE sees a pool noodle, he sees a weapon, something to jump over, something to blow air in faces, and a million other things. Whether it is cutting down brush to cover our swing-set, constructing a teepee in the woods, generating obstacle courses in the yard, or launching stuffed animals off the treehouse to be caught in a parachute, it is all about having FUN. Moments together are meant to be enjoyed.
Several months ago I decided to start pulling all of my images of Shawn and the kids playing in our normal life over the last few years into a collection. Thus was born my Playful Dad Project. It is said that we should tell our kids when they endeavor to play a sport, not that we are proud of their accomplishments on the field, but that we so enjoyed watching them play. When I view these images, that is what I see. Before my eyes is a man who so thoroughly enjoys his children, enjoys their company, and engages their playfulness and imaginations. When our children are grown and look upon this, they will know, “Oh. My daddy LOVED me.” And yes, sweet children, he does.
Guest Post written and images from photographer, Carey Pace
You can learn more about Carey and follow her incredibly moving images at: