What did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse, a teacher, a doctor, an astronaut?
Me? I wanted to be an archeologist. I grew up in an area rich with history. Our local newspaper often had articles about preserving our heritage and stories about old coins and relics turning up in local fields. A state college would also bring students to examine the fossils near our home.
I had a thirst for adventure-a female Indiana Jones of sorts.
I remember my mom coming home one day to find a hole in the back of the garage that I had dug looking for treasure. My mom didn't get mad. She seemed to think it was normal for her daughter to be using her imagination in such a way. Or maybe she had just given up by this time. Remember I was the one who also had filled all of her tupperware with creepy crawlies.
Over time, other holes would pop up (usually where they wouldn't be noticed).
I never did find any treasure. Unfortunately.
I was so excited when I was doing my field observations at a school near our state capital when I was studying education in college. We were able to accompany the kids to a working archeological dig. Archeology is a very tedious and often monotonous job. I chose teaching over archeology after deciding that the reality of this profession wasn't for me. I wasn't overly fond of math or science and better pay and better job security won out.
The closest I get to digging for treasure is digging in the diaper bag for stale snacks, searching for lollipops in the depths of my purse, delving for some semblance of patience and self respect on a daily basis, or when we dig for dinosaurs in my daughter's rice box (which is perfect for hiding things for my daughter to find or just for scooping fun).
We had a fun morning at the playground where my daughter largely ignored the slide, the climbing wall, swings, and all the other fun things to do for the dirt.
I was reminded of how much fun it is to play in the dirt.
At the playground, they have this fine gravel/sand with four contraptions that kids can sit on and maneuver to scoop up and dump dirt. My daughter (who is still a little young at 2 and not strong enough to really control it) chose to sit in the little pits in front of the machines and play.
Part of me (the OCD mommy part) wanted to go over to her, drag her away from her fun, and clean her up. Another part of me wanted her to have fun playing. The sheer joy on her face was priceless. After all, isn't this what kids are supposed to do-enjoy the dirt? There is something immensely pleasing about getting messy.
If there was any doubt in my mind about what I should do, I was reminded by the other moms I was with. They all talked about how much fun it is to play in the dirt. The exploring and learning that takes place with this simple yet messy activity can't be beat. It's part of childhood.
I let her be.
When we left the playground, my daughter looked filthy.
Yet, after I brushed off the dirt and swiped at her hands and visible skin with a wet wipe before loading her into the car, you would never know how she had spent her morning.
Well, the dirt under her nails would clue anyone in if they took the time to look closely.
Needless to say, guess who is still getting a bath tonight.