I simply despise getting my hands dirty. In fact, I really don’t like being any sort of messy.
I don’t like gardening. Putting my hand in a garbage disposal is done out of necessity and always with a disgusted look at my face. I don’t play in the sand. I handle raw chicken like it could reach up and lick me at any second.
But lately I’ve been feeling like it’s hindering my parenting. I don’t particularly care for play dough and I am not a fan of finger paint. I’ve never just let my kids play with shaving cream or flour and water – all because I don’t want to deal with the mess.
That ends today.
My children’s formative years are short. It is merely a matter of time before they no longer want to play with me, so I need to get over myself and GET. IN. THERE.
This hit me in the face yesterday like a Mack truck hurtling down the highway. My daughter was in the pantry and pulled out the bag filled with play dough. I heard myself groan, if only to myself, but got it out anyway. For 20 minutes, she made me “food” and gave it to me to eat. All she wanted in the whole world was for me to pretend (which I absolutely love to do with her) and pretend with play dough. So we did.
Yes, I had green and purple under my nails. Yes, I found it on the floor throughout the rest of the evening. Yes, a few bits and pieces somehow managed to get into the carpet.
But it didn’t matter. What mattered was how happy my daughter was in the moment – that brief, fleeting moment.
Soon enough, she’ll be grown. She’ll be off, wanting to play with friends vs. digging around in the dirt with me. I need to take advantage of this time, instead of risking the fact that I’ll be looking back with regret.
I don’t want to regret a single solitary second – thinking I should have played more.
So today, I vow to get messy. I vow to play in the mud and delight in worms and roly-polys. I vow to bury myself in sand at the beach to the delight of my children and I vow to not utter one peep of disgust or annoyance.
I only have 18 years with my children. Most of that time is going to spent in school, learning, growing, developing without me. I need to envelop myself in the now and take advantage while they are small, while they still love me no matter what I do or say. I want to make sure that they look back and remember that I PLAYED with them.
It’s time for me to get messy.