Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dirt between their toes

The weather has been beautiful and my kids have been outside most of everyday. They have climbed trees, played with the baby goats and stuck bare toes into the dirt while looking for worms. So when the calendar reminded me that we had a regular check up at the doctor’s office I did what every good parent does and pushed them into the bathroom to wash their faces and scrub their little hands. We even changed clothes and packed snacks. I was feeling like mother of the year, totally prepared, on time with all my medical cards and had even brushed my own hair. Then it happened, the nurse ushered us into a little room to measure and weigh them and said “please take off your shoes” That’s when I realized that not only was my 4 year old not wearing socks, but his feet looked like they hadn’t been washed since the start of the Californian drought. Mud and grass clung to his little toes and he left a muddy foot print on the scale. I was horrified as the nurse pulled out the sanitizer wipes, wiping off the scale then offering me a wet paper towel to clean my sons’ feet.

As I knelt down cleaning the caked on mud off of his feet, feeling embarrassed that the nurse thinks I don’t bath my son, I realized that those muddy toes had memories. Memories that will feed his soul as he grows up, they know wet grass, the slippery cold feeling of dew drops in the morning. They knew warm sticky mud, the kind that oozes between your toes when you scrunch them up tight. His feet know the pain of a thorn that feels so sharp that you think you will never walk again and then it’s gone and you’re running again in the dirt like you have never been hurt before. They know the way bark is ruff, but is so much easier to climb with your bare foot to the top of the trees, because shoes slip but little toes can grab. It will be this knowing of the earth, as an experience, that will allow his feet to be roots, roots that dig his heart and soul deep into the dark rich soil of our home and our family.