Claire dipped her feet into dirty sink water yesterday. I'd set her on the kitchen counter to prepare her a snack. The post-nap snack is one of a few ways that Liz and I appease Claire when she wakes up; we can count the number of times she's come out of a nap in a good mood on one hand. Typically she whines for a half hour.
So we offer her a snack. And we set her on the counter while we get it. And we make her chocolate milk. And we turn on a DVD for her. And we teach her to cope with food and entertainment and desperately pray that we haven't sown seeds for eating and/or dissociative disorders.
Yesterday was no exception. She woke up crying. I carried her downstairs, crying. I set her on the counter; crying. I offered her pizza. Crying. I put the pizza in the microwave... Splash.
I turned. The crying had stopped, replaced by laugher and splashes. Claire had pulled her socks off and dipped her toes in the sink. The water had been sitting for two hours; pizza grease and tomato bits were moving over its surface. I'd forgotten to unplug the drain.
Now I'm not much for dirty water and greasy feet, but there was something divine about that scene: A child will play in muddied waters. I think of the germs and the smell and the laundry; my daughter considers the texture. (Filth is unfashionable to adults, but the child delights in being muddy.) I think of the aftermath and obligations; my daughter thinks of the moment. That is why she cries, laughs, and splashes.
Father in heaven, teach us to play.