Let Them Get Dirty
Idyllic images of children tromping through the grass, finding treasures, playing in the dirt, climbing trees. The tantalizing scent of freshly baked bread wafts through the house and you smile as you consider your little blessings. Your precious brood comes running for homemade chocolate chip cookies, and you smile sweetly as they race through the yard and open the back door with gusto, proudly clutching a bouquet of "flowers" picked just for you. You exclaim over their beauty, hugging the giver and inhaling the sweet scent of sunshine that has soaked into their pores.
Oh, sweet summertime memories.
Even I want to climb into that picturesque scene.* Let me paint the scene that unfolds in our home:
It's melt-your-face-off hot, and everyone has been cooped up in the air-conditioned house. I smile sweetly at my children and remind them that dogs still poop in 120 degree heat, so here's a bag. Skedaddle. After mild protests, they procure a bag, don their flip-flops and head out the door. In ten second flat they have cleared the yard and are ready to head for cooler temperatures. I open the back door to encourage them to play for a while longer on their
flaming torch swing set. The most unpleasant scent assaults my nostrils as I realize they have deposited a bag of sun-baked dog poop right by the back door. They whine, and in a moment of desperation I suggest turning on the hose. Their eyes light up at the prospect, and they are back out the door in a flash. I smile smugly that I am going to have at least ten minutes to sneak chocolate read my Bible. Two hours later, I hear excited shouts from the yard. Disposing of chocolate wrappers like a pro, I saunter outside to see what my little angels have been up to. Suffice to say that if mud were the only life-sustaining source left on the planet, my children were going on nine lives. As was the side of the house, their clothes, the patio...forget trying to find their shoes; Those are sunk in the bog that became our backyard.
The internal dialogue goes something like this:
I just mopped three days ago. How can I prevent the tracking of grass and mud into the house? I'm gonna have to treat all their clothes for stains. They'll have to take showers right away, which is going to throw off our whole evening schedule.
I'm thankful those were mere thoughts and not words spoken to my children. One look into their shining eyes told me it truly was all worth it. Three of my girls were planted in the middle of their mud sculptures, excitedly sharing the details from their imaginations. There was no "tromping" into the house. I hosed them off best I could while they continued to chatter on about their muddy adventures. I laid down some grungy towels and they did go straight into the shower. Fifteen minutes later they emerged with only dirty fingernails as evidence of their afternoon excursion. My floors survived. And while there was only store-bought bread with Skippy peanut butter for a snack, the vote is unanimous: MUD has made it into the Summertime Memories Hall of Fame.
Mamas, let them squish mud between their toes, get dirt in their ears and sand in their shoes. I've learned that children, clothes and floors are washable.
Off To The Park,
*I'll fist bump Mary Poppins while I'm there.