Today during an epic game of tag/wrestling outside with Jon and the kids, I was reminded of something that happened in second grade.
Jon had just told the kids to not knock me over because we don’t want grass stains on mommies pants. We were having fun, laughing and really playing. Jon had taken out his iPhone and was capturing our happy moment.
And then, it happened.
I got a grass stain on my pants.
My first reaction was, “Oh well” and then “Oh no, do I have any spray and wash?”
This moment took me back to to second grade on the playground. As a kid, I never wanted to get my clothes dirty. So, I never really played during recess (plus, I didn’t have a lot of friends, but that’s a story for another day). One day while playing at recess on the upper-playground (we had two playgrounds you see, an upper and lower). I was by the track on the North side and fell down. I was devastated that I had fallen and gotten my white pants dirty with a grass stain and yellow dandelion smear.
I kneeled on one knee to examine it. Up close it was worse than anticipated.
“Oh no, mommy will be so mad”. She was always telling me not to get my clothes dirty and especially not to get grass stains.
In my worry of what mommy may say, I began to cry big fat tears that only a second grader knows. The kind of cry that is so helpless you cannot think of anything else. The kind of cry where you are scared and don’t know what to do.
All of this happened over maybe a 10 second period of time.
Then my friend looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t worry, it will wash out”. Her confidence gave me hope and I wiped the tears away from my cheeks. I knew all was not lost.
But that moment was an epiphany in my second grade life. I can play and get dirty because the dirt will wash out.
For me to realize that it was ok to get dirty was a big deal.
Fast forward 25+ years and the tables are turned. I’m the mother doing the wash, worried if the stains will come out. Clothes are clothes, sometimes the dirt and stains washout, sometimes they don’t. But the price for happy moments and laughter are worth the cost of stains and ruined shirts. I’ll take laughter with kids in stained clothes any day.