I recently saw a quote from an ad for ‘Go RVing’ that made my heart smile.
Along with milk and vegetables, kids need a steady diet of rocks and worms. Rocks need skipping. Holes need digging. Water needs splashing.
Bugs and frogs and slimy stuff need finding.
I’m not in the market for an RV at this point in my life, but I sure like the sentiment. The quote reminded me of a moment when I spied on Charlie from our kitchen window four years ago. Charlie was 3 years old at the time, and even though I was soaking up this precious moment, I remember being a tad worried that he’d muddy my favorite Olive Juice shirt of his. That sounds horribly shallow, I know, but his older brother Henry– who was 7 at the time–had a matching one, and I didn’t do that sort of thing that often. Like, buy matching shirts. I especially loved those striped shirts because yellow is my favorite color. But more importantly to me, it is my Dad’s favorite color as well. (That 18′ boat I mentioned in About Me… that my Dad built with his own hands? He actually painted the boat… yellow.) But I digress… (Look! There’s a bird!)
Anyway, I made a discovery that day: the absolute joy that came from those 45 minutes of 3-year old Charlie lifting rocks– hoping with every fiber of his little being to find worms beneath– was monumentally more important than silly matching shirts. I realize now that Charlie’s worm-digging quest was significant– not only for him, but also for me… for it was one of my first
Life Happens In The Messy moments… so I just wanted to share it with you, four years later.
Fast forward several years, to Charlie’s pants (another favorite of mine, also yellow). Following about 10 minutes of post-church play last spring, Charlie came inside for lunch– and I was aghast at how quickly the child can get filthy. I was momentarily aggravated at myself for not asking him to change into play clothes immediately after church. But at the advice of a college friend (mother of twin boys) who suggested they just become Charlie’s “I wanna go outside and be a boy” pants, I didn’t even bother trying to de-stain them. So I just renamed them– from “church pants” to “Reggio* pants”. And that renaming… was actually quite liberating.
Charlie’s Reggio pants.
So I’d like to thank 3-year old Charlie and 7-year old Charlie (and honestly every Charlie, Henry, and Louisa in between) for teaching me this:
Not only does LIFE happen In The Messy, but
what great FREEDOM is to be found there, as well.
(Plus, there’s Liberation and Beauty in Worms… who knew?!)
*Ah… REGGIO. That’s another beautiful + messy post waiting to happen.