Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Today, you sat in a mud puddle. Right in the middle of afternoon dismissal at the Elementary school.
And the truth? I hope you always do.
The rain caught us off guard. It was beautiful and sunny when we entered the preschool to tackle our day. But when we walked out? 100% rain. I didn’t pack either of us a jacket or an umbrella and I definitely would have [more than gently] opposed the white leggings you insisted on this morning, had I realized we would be trudging in sludge.
But here we were. In pearly white leggings, trudging away. Much to your dismay, I opted to carry you on my hip. I hoped your feet would stay more dry and that we could move more rapidly onto and through the campus. If we could snag our big girls quickly, we’d be back to the car and dry in no time. But you had other plans. As soon as we made it past the congested part of the sidewalk, you shook free from my grasp and strutted confidently in the direction of kindergarten release. My gosh, when did you get so big?
As we finished making our way, the bell rang and the students began exiting the building. These rainy days make dismissal more chaotic as everyone rushes to their children and makes equally hasty departures. I look down to make sure you are okay and see you are gingerly tapping the tip of your shoe in a small water puddle. No harm, no foul. You’re not getting anyone else wet and gosh are you cute splishing that little set of toes. I felt a smile creep across my lips. I’ll have to wash those shoes later but no matter; we’ll just shed them before we go inside the house.
I swivel from you to the school doors, anxious to make sure I do not miss our big girls coming out. After several rounds of this, I finally see them. We exchange goodbyes with teachers and now it is time to escape the rain. I turn to put your squishy hand in mine and it is not where I think it is. Wait. Where are your hands? Why are they down there on the ground? Did you fall?
The answer is: no. There you are. Ever so purposefully—sitting in a muddy puddle of water. Splashing your heart out. The glee in your eyes may be etched in my mind’s eye for eternity. While everyone else is set on avoiding it, here you are embracing the rain and making your own sunshine. “Oh, for the love”, I say. I wasn’t really mad. But in the moment, I definitely wasn’t impressed. Caretakers and kiddos were rushing around you, the rain was really picking up now. This will certainly make getting you to the car and in your carseat a little more interesting. I scooped you up with a firm “Not now, baby. We need to get out of the way and go get you cleaned up now.” You really weren’t happy with that.
Once at the car, I peeled your (now brown) leggings off and hurried you into your seat. The big girls were settled too, so I finally made my way into the car and plopped with a sigh. That felt more chaotic. We hurried on to our after school duties: snacks, homework, expelling some rainy afternoon energy, dinner, laundry (remember those leggings are supposed to be white?!)....
Now, this rainy day is drawing to a close. You are tucked in bed, clean, dry, and in your favorite cozy pants. Softly dreaming (maybe of puddles). And I sit feeling this:
I love the way you squeal when it rains; may it never dampen your spirits.
I love the way you dance in the drizzle; may you always make room to twirl.
I love that muck looks like a place for fun; may you carry sunshine where ever you go.
I love the way you give me pause; may you continually discover glee in the seemingly dreary. I love the space you make for joy; may you remember not to take life too seriously.
May you always find your mud puddle, baby girl.
You sure know how to make a splash.