She is drawn to mud puddles like a moth to flame.
Like a horse to water.
Like a fly to poop.
Like me to chocolate.
She was drawn that day and I let her - even though she was wearing a new cute, light pink dress and I had a feeling it would end up splattered with brown within a matter of seconds.
Still, I love the idea of children being allowed to be children and of me being able to photograph it.
She started by stepping in the water in one part of the gravel parking lot, standing with the the murky brown liquid covering both her ruby red slippers with the sparkles - the slippers she had picked out six months ago on a shopping trip for basketball shoes for her brother.
She'd been drawn to those slippers too. She put them on and said "these mine," and left her old shoes in the floor and walked toward the exit.
When those slippers were covered in water on this day she smiled, or rather smirked, and started to step in each little pool of muddy water with a low chuckle of delight. Soon she was running through the puddles and asking me to do the same.
It was a familiar scene. She'd done the same two days earlier and we had run in the ankle deep water in another parking lot and laughed as we ran.
People smiled at us as they walked by on their way to the local clinic. I think they wanted to run in puddles too.
On this day I ran again with her because that's why God gives us children - to remind us how be free, that we are free in Him.
Free to splash in puddles.
Free to not care what anyone else thinks.
Free to remember who we really are.
Children remind us that sometimes we need to stop and feel the water squish into our shoes and between our toes and then we need to giggle and see how much mud we can splatter up out of the puddle and all over our clothes.
Children remind us to climb a tree because - why not?
Children remind us that pushing a cart across a parking lot as fast as you can and then jumping on the back of it and riding it to your car is - well - really fun.
Children remind us to be distracted by the way the sun hits the sunflowers in the fields and the butterfly fluttering among the cattails by the pond.
Children remind us how nice it is to hold someone's hand when you walk across the street.
Children remind us that sometimes we need to let go and simply be alive.
Her brother jumped across the puddle and landed on his feet.
She jumped across the puddle and landed on her rear in the middle of the puddle.
And she laughed and I had a good feeling she flopped in the water on purpose.
Who will show me to stop and laugh in the puddles when my children are older?
Who will remind me it's ok to not be serious all the time?
Who will hold my hand when I cross the street?
Who will whisper as I walk across a park "I love you, mama?" leaving me with that funny feeling you get in your chest right before you cry?
Why do we forget how to laugh, to splash, to play as we grow?
Why do we forget to live instead of just exist?