Let Them Be Kids

Thumbing through some old pictures I came across this one from last Spring. My daughter found a mud puddle near our house and she just couldn’t help herself. She was all in! At first, I clenched my teeth and said, “No! No! You’ll get so dirty!” Then I remembered some of the mud fights I had with my sisters and neighbors growing up. There are only so many times in life that dirt feels good. Rub that earth between your fingers and let it seep into your clothes Speckles cover your face and you try again to jump higher for the biggest splash yet. It’s fun. You do it because it’s fun and not because you are thinking about what comes next.

As an adult, I’m more reserved. Fun has a different toll than it used to. Let’s be honest, who got her all cleaned up, washed her clothes right away so they wouldn’t stain, wrapped her in warm blankets, and made her hot chocolate to get her all toasty again? Me, the mom. As a child, she enjoyed everything from the exploration of a cold muddy puddle to the warm cocoon I created for her afterward.

I am an adult all the time, even when I don’t want to be. If I were to start making a huge mess I would also be the one cleaning it up. That’s adulthood. I accept that I’ll clean up the mess I make, especially in the name of fun. Actually, I’ll clean up the mess even when it’s not fun. Because no one else will. For now, I’m going to let her make her mud pies and splosh murky water all over the place without a care. Tomorrow I’ll teach her how to do laundry and wash the grit out of her hair.

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