You might wonder why I titled this post a PROUD parenting moment - clearly my kids have been playing in the muck and are thoroughly, and completely filthy. You might think it may be more appropriate to label this a parenting FAIL. But when I look at this photo, all I actually see is the look on Zach's (the little one) face. Do you see that look of pure adoration in his eyes when he looks at his big brother? And do you see the absolute pride in AJ's entire being? Look at how his arm is around Zach's shoulder, and you'll note his chest is even a little puffed out. Hilarious! I vividly remember this afternoon back in 2009. I sent them out in the backyard basically just to keep them busy so that I could get some housecleaning done. Ironic, considering the outcome, right? I wouldn't say that I'm a neat freak. But I do like things done a certain way. I like stuff to be put where it belongs. I'm a planner, not a spur-of-the-moment kinda gal. When you throw stuff at me that wasn't on the calendar, I get a little panicked (and grouchy). THIS particular moment was NOT on the calendar. I heard all sorts of commotion out back, and when I went outside, THIS is what I encountered:
When I interrupted them and asked what, exactly they were doing.....they just froze. They looked at each other, and just busted out laughing. Now, I'm not gonna lie to ya. The very first thought that whipped thru my brain was "Holy (freakin) crap. What a mess. You're killing the grass. You're clothes will never be the same. How do I even attempt to clean this up." I stood there for a good couple minutes just looking around. It was almost dinner time, and my husband was due home any minute. THIS is what he was coming home to. And then I just caught a glimpse of Zach's little face. What had been an ear-to-ear smile turned into this little look like "Oop, I think I'm about to get into BIG trouble." He looked like he was gonna cry. I could tell he didn't know what to do. What to say. We just stood there looking at each other for a while. Then I walked back into the house and got the camera. I figured if they'd already done it, I might as well preserve it on film. "Get back to what you were doing - don't let me stop you", I said. And they just dove right back into the mud. Giggling and laughing like loons. I shot a whole bunch of pics that day, but the first one on top is my favorite. Every time I see it, I smile. Like a loon. (they get that from their Mom).
It took a LONG time to clean up that mess. They were carried into the house and plopped into the walk-in shower clothes and all. I must have rinsed GALLONS of mud off of them. There was mud in their pockets, even! After several washings, their clothes came clean. The mud came outta their hair and out from under their nails. The grass grew back. Nobody got sick. Nobody died, not even the grass. What I learned in that quick little moment of watching Zach was that sometimes you (I) just gotta let go. I gotta break free from the Type-A personality and just BE. This is actually one of my favorite moments with the boys. I stood back and watched them - REALLY watched them. Not just kinda kept my eye on them while I did other things. I really paid attention. I remember it all. One of my promises to myself, is that this year I will make a conscious effort to stop doing 12 things at once ALL THE TIME, and just really pay attention to the ONE thing I am doing. I am seriously going to stop thinking ahead, making To Do lists in my head all the (stinkin') time and just pay attention to what is going on around me. Because, quite frankly, I think I miss a whole lot of the here and now, worrying and preparing for the tomorrows. What if tomorrow never comes? My first born is already 15, driving a car, and so busy that I rarely see him anymore. Soon he'll be off to college. Before I know it - in the blink of an eye - that will be Zach. He's my third and I wonder if he gets the same attention the other two got. He's resilient and a pretty happy guy, so I think it's all good. But I want to make sure that I really and truly remember his childhood. His personality. I want to remember the unplanned moments like this that would probably happen a lot more if I just don't squash them before they can get going. Know what I mean?