Friday, April 25, 2014

Dirt for the Soul

We are re-doing our back yard at the moment.  Not to mention, maintaining the front yard.  And there's the side vegetable garden as well.  Home ownership will really keep you in the dirt.  If you enjoy that kind of thing.  We didn't know we did, until we got a little dirty.

I confess I like to have my stuff together.  Is there anything wrong with that?  I crave structure and routine.  And when I have it, I enjoy the room to create and allow for improvisation, but I definitely like to plan for that freedom.  And like many things in life, parenting is an opportunity for change in this area for me.  The first time I put my Tupperware back into the cabinet and he looked at me like "aw, thanks mom" and took it all out again with such joy... that's when I realized that this kid was gonna help sanctify me.  And I want to thrive in the process, not fight it.

My dad, also type-A/planner/clean-freak type, was finishing dinner while visiting for Colton's birthday.  He commented how blessed he was that my floors were dirty.  I call them "distressed" which means I can get away with the "barn look" a few days longer than most.  He said when I was a little girl, he saw me coloring one day and I was getting so frustrated at myself because I couldn't stay within the lines.  He pulled back, wide-eyed and realized this was the "him" in me that was coming out.  He said my floors give him hope that maybe my children might be a little more normalized because at least I was okay with dirt.

I laughed out loud, thinking about how it drove me crazy that I didn't get to clean my floors before the big birthday party that weekend.  But when I look down to see that my son is MOST happy when his bare feet and hands are ash grey from going in and out of our sliding door, traipsing in more dirt each time, I just shake my head in joy.  I can feel the good for my soul, and for his, right then and there- watching him make a mess, knowing that we can clean him later, and that he'll sleep better, and that hosing down your kid is such a better feeling than locking him inside just because you don't want to deal with the mess that day.

Colton loves dirt so much.  He'll squish it, lick it, hit it.  And while I know it's normal for little boys to enjoy all things earth and worm related, I think it's been especially good for me to have a boy.  I'm leaving so much of my clean self outside these days.  Weeding while watching him play with the hose, or replanting that same poor basil plant he keeps pulling out of the garden bed as if he'd finally found his favorite one.  It's all so good.  I love getting dirty with him.  I love picking him up even though that means getting my shirt mud swiped.  I love washing our hands together afterwards and watching the water go from brown to clear.  He's not thinking twice about what's happening, but I'm hoping this discipline of dirt play will instill a freedom to let the dirty floors go when I come to visit someday, and give him a love for cultivating earth that his father and I have discovered about ourselves.

Here's to more laundry, and grassed stained jeans- his and mine.  I love being a mom to a boy.  It's so good for my soul.


  1. It's funny how boys really are that way. Your brother was the same. Instead of "Embrace rust" like we do here at the can "Embrace dirt".

  2. As always, love your ruminations, Noelle!