Last night we had another one of those fabulous Indiana storms. The kind that add the tune of tornado sirens to the air for more than an hour, and send me and mine running for the scant protection of the half bath under the stairs.
It was not the ideal way to start the weekend, to be sure. Especially since our dog (also in the little bathroom with us) had gas, and the toddler had a diaper that was trying to fill with poo.
But survive we did—and we didn’t even have to attempt to protect ourselves with the cast iron pots my husband figured could shield our heads if worst came to worst.
And then? Then the sun came out. Rainbows appeared (really). And Tori discovered the puddles it left behind.
She started in a small one.
But then she discovered the drainage ditch at the back of the yard. The one that floods after a big rain and rushes with the current of a real river. After that? It was game on.
But she didn’t really want to play in the water by herself. And she wasn’t brave enough to wander out into the middle without holding my hand.
Which is why, a few minutes later, I found myself shoeless, and with my jeans rolled up to my knees, stomping in the muddy water.
At first, I was reluctant, and merely stood there. But after Tori looked up at me imploringly and said “stomp, mommy,” I got into the spirit of things.
I stamped cautiously a few times. But after I got used to the feel of mud seeping between my toes, I threw off my stuffy sense of decorum and Tori and I jumped and stomped and splashed our hearts out.
Before long, the water looked like chocolate milk (or so Tori told me). And our legs were speckled with mud.
But we were both grinning from ear to ear. And I? Had forgotten about the horror of the tornado siren entirely.
So if it’s been a while since you jumped in puddles, I suggest you go outside right now and find one. If you feel silly, bring a kid with you. But I promise, you won’t regret the splish-splashing, mud-speckling fun.
Those kids, they’re on to something. We should follow their example more often.