Have we taken too much JOY out of childhood? Are we so concerned about doing everything perfectly that we’ve forgotten how to just have fun? More importantly, have we regulated all the fun out of childhood?
She came inside from riding bikes and asked if she could jump in the puddle. Bonus points for her asking prior to becoming a muddy mess!
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Would I say Yes to more mud puddles?
I let my daughter jump in a puddle. Yes, neatnik, OCD, clean freak ME let my daughter jump in a puddle, a grassy, muddy puddle.
I don’t think I gave much thought to which puddle she meant, but I said, “Sure.” In a moment of clarity, I knew that saying NO was easier, but saying YES was better.
My husband was not in favor, but it was a warmish day for Alabama in January, and she’s a kid. Kids need to get dirty sometimes, to toss away rules, to play with abandon.
Letting her be a kid was more important than her getting wet & muddy.
I wasn’t going to let her swim across the English channel. It was just a puddle, for Pete’s sake.
I wrapped her feet in plastic bags up to her knees, tucked them inside her boots and sent her off with instructions not to jump in higher than her boots, knowing she probably would get muddier and wetter, but making a motherly attempt to mitigate the damage anyways.
A few minutes later, I heard joyful shrieking so I went to peek. The “puddle” was actually at the bottom of the deepish ditch at the house next door and she was fairly wet and muddy up to her hips.
And she was laughing. The boy next door was rolling in it. He jumped up, soaked from head to toe, shaking the water off like a dog. My sweet girl was giggling hysterically. She jumped across the puddle, spraying muddy, grassy water in all directions.
I smiled and walked away from the window, fairly certain that she wouldn’t come home with typhus from playing in the rain water run off from our yard.
She was going to need a bath. Her clothes would need stain treatment the minute she got home. But for a few minutes, she was blissfully just playing in the mud.
And I let her, despite myself, thank goodness.For the moment, she was blissfully playing in the mud puddles. And I let her, despite myself. Click To Tweet
Despite myself. Despite my desire for order and structure. And despite trying to do this motherhood thing perfectly, I recognized childhood is for getting muddy and being wild?
I should have grabbed my camera to capture the gigantic grin on her face as we stripped her down in the garage, but I was too busy being in the moment with her.
I did remember a similar smile from a too early spring day when I said yes to the sprinklers.
All joy despite being chilly and wet. Sometimes we just have to say yes to more mud puddles and sprinklers.
I can think back in my life and count the precious few times I played in the mud or danced in the rain, and isn’t that a shame.
I spent too much time worried about the mess instead of reveling in the joy that can come from a little controlled chaos.
Life is pretty hard and miserable often. Life is too short almost always. I have to spend a lot of time saying variations of NO!
No, don’t eat that. Don’t lick that. No, don’t shove a pencil eraser in your nose. Please don’t get messy before church. No, we can’t play in the rain today. I’m sorry, no, mommy can’t fix that. No, mommy can’t make life fair.
So sometimes, I want to say yes! Dance in the rain. Play in the sprinkler. Jump in the puddle. Eat ice cream for dinner. Watch too much TV. Make noise. Sure, you can have extra bubbles in the bath, an impromptu play-date picnic, an extra story or a game with mommy.
Suffering, trials, hard work, and tough times are ‘givens’ in this world.
Sadly, fun is not always as easy although we can learn to have JOY despite difficult circumstances. So, we have to seize those moments when we can and teach our children to as well.
God gave us laughter and happiness. I believe he delights in our joy. And this mom is going to say yes to mud puddles more often.
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