Friday, July 5, 2013

A Messy, Fun Fourth

How was my 4th of July, you ask?  This photograph, ladies and gentlemen, will answer that question:  

Filled with messes, and therefore, filled with fun!

If you read my 4th of July post, you recognize this shirt, only then it was in a much cleaner state.  I took the picture above earlier today just before throwing my daughter's shirt in the washing machine.  

The picture doesn't quite do the real thing justice.  

It was completely covered in who-knows-what from top to bottom.  I tried to figure out what a couple of the stains were but gave up after retracing her steps from the day.

Some of the places she may have acquired her 4th of July stains included...
  • A breakfast of drippy yogurt and juicy blueberries and raspberries
  • Half-frozen Popsicles and endless sticky candy that she gathered at the parade
  • Sunscreen we slathered on her as she watched her cousins play in a 3-on-3 tournament
  • BBQ meatballs or chip dip she snacked on before jumping in her aunt and uncle's pool
  • Baked beans she scarfed down or the ketchup and mustard she licked off her hot dog at dinner
  • Any of the 4 brownies she ate for dessert
  • The Capri Sun she sipped on doing sparklers and watching fireworks before she finally collapsed in bed around 11:00pm
A day filled with food, family and fun...and lots of reasons to be messy!  

When "Clean" Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be
I remember a time when I was a relatively new mom and I tried to keep my son "clean."  His clothes.  His hands.  His car seat.  And then I realized that I could spend every waking minute of every day trying to keep him clean, and I would be doing just that: trying.  Getting him clean was one thing.  Keeping him clean for more than 7 minutes was an entirely different thing.  

It would never ever happen.  Ever.  

It was then I figured out that I could spend my time trying to achieve the impossible, and drive myself completely crazy and miss out on enjoying all the fun moments that come with the mess, all the while preventing my son from actually having any real kid fun or just simply being a kid.  Or I could not worry so much about the mess and instead focus on the fun that usually came during the creation of the mess.

This has become the mantra around our house:  "If you're messy, it means you're having fun."  

This is for me as much as it is for my kids.  It always makes them laugh when we say it, and when I hear their giggles, it helps put the mess in perspective for me.  So far, every mess we've encountered has been able to be cleaned up.  Sometimes it takes a little elbow grease or a few more cycles through the washing machine, but in the long run, the fun had making the mess was well worth it.

This shirt and our 4th of July fun yesterday were no exception.  

I know there will come a day when my daughter has a fun-filled 4th of July, and the only way I'll have any proof of it will be through the stories she tells me and the memories I have of the day.  There will be no messes left behind on her 4th of July shirt.  

I fear that day will come all too soon, so for now, I'll take a shirt covered with food, sunscreen and whatever else she got into, and treasure it for just a few extra minutes before I throw it in the washing machine.  For the second time.

Don't worry.  Messy kids are usually happy kids, and that means 
You Are a Good Mom.  


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