It was like she had found the most exciting location in the world the way my daughter stomped her tiny 15 month old, boot-clad feet in the mud puddle in the park of a city we'd visited for the day.
We hadn't brought extra socks so her dad and I wavered between telling her and her brother to stop playing with the icy water and not wanting to squealch their childhood fun.
Water splashed out onto the brick road and up her legs and she threw her head back and giggled.
And when she giggled her brother laughed. But with the laughter I remember tension and sadness because I didn't let my nine year old splash as much as he would have liked. He was wearing his school shoes and we didn't want him to get them wet and dirty.
I'm not good at being a strict parent. I'd rather be the parent who has fun and lets my children have fun, unless they are risking their safety.
I remember my son's sad, disappointed expression on his face, the way he looked at his sister, as if to say "she can stomp in the puddle, why can't I?" Looking back I wish I had let him stomp in that puddle. The fun of splashing with his sister was much more important than his shoes, which, if we had had to, we could have found the money to replace.
I look at these moments that leave me with a twinge of sadness as learning moments. The next time we're near a puddle I'll let him jump in, as I always have before and did one day after school, ignoring the other parents watching as my son jumped up and down and sat in the muddy water of a deep puddle.
Life is too short to worry about mud covered shoes and too precious to give away moments of pure joy and laughter. (Even though his shoes are these really cool light-up Batman shoes and I'd hate to have had them ruined with the muddy water, so, yeah, maybe it was OK to say no this time. Ha!)
This post is part of a blog circle with a group of other photographers. We post 10 photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle visit Katie Brenkert!