Lessons Learned in Mud

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Having kids is a funny thing. Sure, they can make you bang your head against the wall some days, but they make you laugh, play, explore, and imagine again. They have a way of bringing perspective to life in the simplest of ways.

Sunday, I received a call from my boss / friend / brother-in-law’s brother-in-law (did you get that…there will be a test later), to invite my family for a trip to the farm for an afternoon of shed hunting. Naturally I was ready and raring to go and as it would turn out, so were Lillian and Trey, my two little ones.

All I had to do was mention a trip to the forest and before I knew what happened froggy and princess boots were on their feet as they stood at the door begging to go. Quickly we piled in the truck with a juice box, some popcorn and off we went.

As any parent can understand, “are we there yet” was asked roughly 1,325 times during the hour drive. Some days this might drive me nuts, but today they were having so much fun we just let it roll, singing songs as we went.

Once we arrived they rolled out of the truck to jump in any pile of snow they could find. It was 63 degrees but the snow hung in there as the kids tromped through the field. Soon, Jason and his daughter, Cora, arrived and off we went in search of the prized shed antlers.

The pair of girls sat on a cooler and giggled as the Polaris trudged across the muddy field. Trey, well he sat in my lap and didn’t say a word but smiled the entire time.

For the next two hours we walked, fell in the creek, stumbled in the bushes, shed a few tears (dang thorns), and laughed a lot. Hey, we even found a couple of sheds… well… one of them might have been planted, but the smile at the end was worth cheating a little.

We saw birds, deer, turkeys, even a possum before we completed our exploration of the Missouri wilderness.

As we returned to the trucks, Trey and Lillian decided there were a couple mud puddles they had not jumped in so off they went, jumping, splashing, laughing, you know…being kids.

It was in that moment I realized how awesome my kids are. I know every parent feels that way and every parent would be right. However for me, I smiled because I remembered what it was to be a kid. What it was like to be able to laugh and run around without a care in the world.

Jason and I sat and laughed as Trey fell in the mud, looking at us not sure if he should laugh or cry. Quickly he realized he was having too much fun not to smile.

They ran around until I explained it was time to go find their mom, who was waiting at home.

Covered in mud, water and smiles they stood on the tailgate as I stripped them down to nothing (almost nothing). As they thanked Mr. Jason for inviting us to the forest they asked if they could come back tomorrow. They screamed as Jason replied, ‘anytime you want to go you just let me know.’

Much to my surprise, sleep was nowhere to be found for these two. Trey and Lillian were too excited to sleep. One might have thought it was Christmas morning.

As we arrived home, Lillian could not wait to show mom her prized shed she found and talk of the turkey she saw. All Trey wanted to talk about was playing in the muuuuud. And judging from the pictures… I can’t say that I blame him.

Needless to say they slept like a champ when bedtime rolled around.

Me, I stayed up for a while reflecting on the day that was. I have always understood kids are a blessing. Today, it is perfectly clear why.

I am now challenged to remember this feeling and recreate it for my family as often as I can.

You are now challenged to do the same for your family. Go laugh a little today.

Michael Wardlaw


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