When I pick up dirty undies, stray socks, chewed-up paper towels, dryer sheets, and toothbrushes off the floor, I always think, "Man, if I lived alone, my house would be so clean." And it would be, but life would be so dull and lonesome.
Life with a husband, three little ones, and a big hairy dog is usually messy. And rich. The other day, I was potting and watering some plants on our back patio, and the big girls managed to get into my open bag of potting soil while I went in to change Ruthie's diaper. By the time I came back, there really was no way to stop the fun.
My temptation was to get frustrated. Honestly, it was a great big mess out there. But they were so delighted to transfer and play in the dirt, I couldn't help but let it go on.
And if I'm being honest, the mess wasn't that big of a deal. Oh, it was a disaster to look at it. But a quick shoe-and-clothing removal, a trip through the tub, a scoop of oxyclean, and ten minutes with the hose at naptime was all the mess required.
A friend of mine shared with me something she'd recently learned at a parenting seminar. Evidently the three things adults remember most about childhood are rituals (especially mealtime rituals), vacations, and time spent outside. While we don't have a real exploration-friendly backyard, we do spend a lot of time out there... and we do spend a lot of time getting messy. I do pray they'll remember these dirty times with sisters, playing together in the backyard.