I was hanging with the kid this weekend and he wanted to play in the creek. My initial instinct, which I went with, was, “No, sorry, dude. We can’t do this because Uncle Slim (not his real name, duh) is coming over in an hour.” So, K-Man stood and watched a bunch of kids run through the creek. Undaunted, he kept asking. Finally, I relented. Into the creek he went.
And he had a freakin’ blast. He romped through the water. He laughed. He made new friends. He got very wet and very dirty. It was great to watch. The whole experience made me check myself and realize that I might be all too quick to say no to things he wants to do. This isn’t to say that he can get everything he wants (the answer to the ever-present question of “can I have a new toy today?” remains the same), but why the hell couldn’t he play in the creek?
K-Man is a kid. I want him to be a kid. I want him to play. To run. To laugh uncontrollably. Why the hell shouldn’t he be allowed to play in the creek? Well, frankly, because I didn’t really want to deal with getting him cleaned up. It wasn’t about him. It was about me. It was about my unwillingness to give him a bath and get the creek slime off of him. I readily own that. I was somewhat mortified with myself. So, I took him back to the creek the next day, too. Go nuts, kid. Get wet and dirty.
Childhood is so fleeting. We’ve all had people tell us not to blink, because you’ll miss it. Four-and-a-half years has gone by in an instant. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of this. The fact is that I should have insisted that he get into the creek. Watching him play is one of my greatest pleasures. I received as much reward from his romp as he did. Maybe more. I was going to pass that up because I didn’t want to deal with a simple bath? Sometimes I suck.
Play away kid. I hope you never stop.