Now that summer weather has graced our fair city, everyone is outside all the time. As soon as school lets out, the neighborhood parks swell with parents and kids. We suffered through the Polar Vortex of 2014, so we feel rather entitled to sunshine and 80 degrees!
The park we visited today was full of families from our wonderful school. Evie gathered with her adorable girlfriends at the swings, Vivian mastered the slides, and Mack made friends with several third graders who seemed happy enough to have an eager little guy tagging along. I was simply grateful to have a few minutes to chat with my new favorite friend Amy.
After a short while, a couple of well-intentioned mothers came to tell me that Mack’s hands were covered in mud. I wasn’t phased at first, but after a third mother came to share the news about my messy 4 year old running around the park, I got up to take a look for myself. Sure enough, he was running through the mud, happy as could be.
Not one to micromanage every movement of my kids at the park (a mother of four ain’t got time for that!), I walked over to check on Mack and his new friends. After confirming that he wasn’t hurting anyone, I asked him to play nicely with and not throw mud at the patient big kids who were egging him on (much to their amusement). One of the kids suggested Mack lay down in the mud. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. Who was I to stop him from getting dirty and having fun with the big kids?!
He dove right in!
This year I’ve realized that my family is the hillbilly family of our neighborhood. Our little babes wear cloth diapers. I breastfeed in public. Mine are the kids who prefer running barefoot in our courtyard. We are noisy and numerous. I don’t care if my kids get filthy, ratty, dirty at the park. Might as well own up to the truth: we’re country people living in the big city.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I think a childhood without a good swim in the mud is a childhood misspent. Oh the freedom of getting dirty with no concern for getting clean! Just the pure, unapologetic fun of it all. I’m happy Mack finds joy in the simple gushy glory of good old fashioned mud. And I’m happy his city childhood affords him opportunities to get dirty every now and then.
Mack walked the few blocks home without complaint, and he seemed to enjoy the jovial commentary from passerbys. I took his clothes off in the garage, tossed them directly into the garbage can, and carried him up to the shower. He was clean in a matter of minutes, happy as a pig in mud!
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