I will be the first to admit that I do not care for sticky, messy, dirty, or slimy things. My mom tells the story of when I was a little kid in ECFE and I would stand at a distance, watching the other kids doing the activities. I was perfectly happy to watch and not have to participate myself.
Fast forward 30 years and it was my turn to take my daughter to ECFE. Her teachers always did a wonderful job having sensory activities for the kids. (Read: sticky, grimy, goopy things). Each week I made a huge effort to point out all the other fun things my daughter and I could do together in the classroom – puzzles, dress-up, read books, play dolls…but she always made a beeline to the sensory activity. Once there was this awful cornstarch mixture. It was all I could do to poke at it a few times and not freak out when it stuck to my hands. She, on the other hand, was nearly bathing in it. She rubbed it all over her hands, arms, and probably would have kept going had I not placed a limit.
I think God gave her to me so He could have a good laugh as I try to navigate motherhood without getting sticky.
The other day I was walking through the stacks at the library and a book cover caught my eye. The picture was a kid in rain boots, splashing away in a big mud puddle. It reminded me of my daughter. The title was, “Muddy Boots: Outdoor Activities for Children” by Liza Gardner Walsh. I had to check it out.
That book inspired me to set aside my own apprehension about “messy” and just get in there and go for it! Being fully immersed in nature and MUD is so good for kids for so many reasons. I was sold. So sold, in fact, that I bought the book. To take it one step further, I even committed to do every activity that I could from the book this summer. How’s that for a (mud) bucket list?
So I’m embarking on a wonderfully messy journey. I think it’s going to be awesome. As I step away from the uptight, anti-mess mom that I’ve been, I’m finding I feel more relaxed, joyful, and carefree. I’m learning there is beauty in the rhythm of getting messy, cleaning up, and repeating.