You know what sentence has never come out of my mouth? “ohhhh look…isn’t this worm CUTE!??!!”
Cute? A worm? Ummmm…. no.
Kittens are cute. Baby Pandas at the Zoo are cute. Bunnies are cute. Squirrels are a stretch. And most definitely? Worms are not. This is also true for reptiles. And sharks. Just. Not. Cute.
But my 7 year old daughter… hands chocolate colored, nails as black as a coal miner from digging in the mud…. well, she seems to think so. And even though my first instinct is to say, “put it DOWN!”, nose appropriately scrunched up as I step back quickly in case she suddenly decides to toss it, (Wait… I’m sorry, is my ‘California Girl’ showing? ) for her sake, I smile and listen to every detail she has to share.
My job as a mom isn’t to raise children to be just like me, but to raise small people to turn into big people who are their very own people. I want them to think for themselves, to make their own decisions, to choose their own likes and dislikes. Does it seem like a stretch to see all of this in one friendly worm? I don’t think so. Because the alternative, the ‘me’ in this day’s mothering, wanted to tell her to leave the worm alone and wash her hands – that is what I WOULD HAVE DONE. But I’m not trying to grow another version of me.
I’m growing a Delaney. And she is glorious. And dirty. And she thinks worms are cute.
And I’m growing a Cooper. He is inquisitive. And definitely dirty. And wants to be anywhere his big sister is standing.
I believe in letting my kids get dirty.
I want them to know the joy of a mother who encourages their curiousity, willingly participates in their flights of fancy, loves their imagination and isn’t afraid of a little worm.