When I was little, I used to dream about what kind of Mom I would some day like to be. I used to dream about building forts, climbing trees, scrambling up riverbeds and inventing make-believe worlds. I would someday invite my child(ren) to participate in my “worlds,” scamper over rocks, balance on logs, and get good and muddy–of course. In the meantime, my younger siblings were all too willing to play roles in the “world of Bronwyn” and to be accomplices in the production of much dirty laundry. (Sorry, Mom.)
At the time, I knew nothing of work, nothing of responsibility, nothing of the time and effort it took to actually make the picnic lunch appear in the backpack. “Enough grocery shopping, Mom. Enough fussing around the kitchen. Enough doing laundry. Let’s just go, already.”
That being said, now that I really am a mother, it is surprising just how much work always needs to be done. I never dreamed about being the Mom making sandwiches, hanging clothes on the line, and spending aeons on the telephone trying to register my daughter from swimming lessons. C’est la vie.
Today, I decided to let my inner-child (and my child) take priority over the countless chores that appear every morning–appear as if they have been mysteriously reproducing as I sleep. It was a hot day. I wanted so badly to wade upstream through the ravine. I wanted my daughter to want to wade with me. Both with rubber crocs, we sunk our feet into the mud and trudged through the water. At first, she was a bit nervous about losing her feet under stinky black goop, but eventually my excitement drew her in to the experience. We climbed over slimy rocks, walked along logs, explored dams and laughed as we inevitably slipped–sometimes into the mud, sometimes into the water that so graciously cleaned the mud off. We “eye-spyed” squirrels, told stories, pretended we were ducks, and chased water spiders.
We had frozen perogies for dinner. My husband heated them in the BBQ after he came home from work. There’s a sky-high pile of unfolded laundry on my bed and some interestingly scented clothes in the hamper. Was it worth it? You bet. I can’t wait to take my daughter back. Next time, I hope to bring buckets and bowls. We can make soup out of the debris floating down the ravine. We can divert the water and build whirl pools “for the ducks.” We can sit on the riverbed and observe the changing patterns in the sand.
Moms have responsibilities. Today I was reminded that it is our responsibility to create space for our children–space to be creative, to explore, and to be inspired by the same things that once inspired us. There’s nothing quite like water, sticks, and mud to stir the imagination.