playing in dirt

Tonight Brandon and I earned the official award for “Worst Parents of the Year”. Providence started with a cough last week, which we noticed has been continually getting worse, and only occurring at night. Tonight, desperation began to sink in as she went into a full fledge “Gollum” impersonation after about an hour of falling asleep. I went in and sat next to her, rubbing her back, making she was alright while racking my brain with what to do to resolve it. Then it hit me. Not a solution, but the smell. I didn’t notice it earlier, but after an hour with the curtain shut, the aroma of dirt, grass, and sweat began to permeate their small bunk room.

Why didn’t the rest of the Airstream didn’t smell like this?! Oh… wait… when was the last time our children had showers? Well, let’s see, today we went hiking in the woods, yesterday they went swimming and rolled around in the grass, then the day before they covered themselves in sand at the playground… I won’t continue to bore you with our daily outdoor adventures, but let’s suffice it to say it had been well over a week. Actually, Providence was the last to get one, and it was only a quick wash after vomit infused her hair 7 days ago. “Worst Parents of the Year Award”, for sure!

The bad news? “Perfect Parents” don’t exist. You – I, We – will always fall short, forget something, and make mistakes. We’re going to have bad days, dirty days, and days when we just need to crawl back in bed to hit the reset button.

But the good news? Our shortcomings and mistakes don’t have to be devastating like the ones we experienced as children. We can give our kids the childhood we didn’t get. I say, if the worse thing I did this week as a parent was forget to give my kids a bath because we were so busy having fun, then I’m doing pretty darn well. And that’s not to say I’m perfect! I most definitely am not. I get angry, I have to apologize, I work longer hours than I want at times, and am totally guilty of “Don’t you dare get out of this bed tonight young lady, Mommy needs rest!”

But instead of beating myself up for all the “Worst Parent of the Year Awards” I accumulate on a daily basis, I can see them for what they really are: normal parenting imperfections. Not abuse, not long-term psychological and emotional devastation, not neglect. Just normal parenting imperfections. And that is something to be pleased with… dirt, grime, grease, and all.