Because the phrase "muddying the waters" means to cloud an issue or to make something more difficult to understand or more complicated than necessary, it almost always carries a negative connotation. (Well, duh! Like any of us needs extra confusion in our lives.)
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, Bella and Boogie came over for some "Camp Pa-Ja" before Jaja heads back to the school house (and their mother, Middle Daughter, loses her mind . . . come on, moms of little ones -- you've been there. And then, of course, their mama will then pick them up just before Jaja loses hers! Lol!). And guess what . . . I let them muddy the waters. And they had a blast!
Last week, knowing Camp Pa-Ja was coming up, I scored a plastic kiddie pool off Freecycle, and I looked forward to filling it up and letting the grandbabies splash in it to their hearts' content. The only constriction was that Papa (the beloved co-director here at Camp Pa-Ja) said we couldn't put the pool on the grass. No problem. We have lots of dirt patches in the backyard here at Camp Pa-Ja.
Well, Boogie's no dummy. He saw that pool sitting in that big patch of for-the-moment dirt and knew it was the perfect place to park his big ol' dump truck. And did I mention he had a big ol' yellow plastic shovel? Dirt + shovel + pool + water + BOY . . . okay, you do the math. (Or would that mixing of the elements fall under chemistry?) Yup, before I knew it, we had just the right conditions for some genuine M-U-D .
No problem. As long as the mud stayed in the back of the dump truck. But just like his Jaja, Boogie is not one who embraces the "less is more" philosophy of life. I mean, if mud pie mix (" . . . for your birthday, JaJa!") looks delicious in the back of a little big ol' dump truck, imagine how much more deliciousness a big ol' blue plastic kiddie pool might hold!
Now, I can't usually even spell math (remember, I teach language arts), but this equation appeared right before my eyes (think Nebuchadnezzar and the writing on the wall): Globs of dirt in the business end of a yellow plastic shovel + nice clear water minding its own business in blue plastic kiddie pool = ARGHHHHHHHHH!
Just as my mouth opened to verbalize the end product of the aforementioned equation -- along with an added "STOP!" -- I thought Y, I mean Why? (Sorry, I had a flashback from college algebra there for a moment, but I think I'm okay now.) I mean, most of the time we steer kids away from mud puddles, dirt piles, and other assorted messes we might have to clean up after, and that usually makes sense seeing as how most of the time we'd be the ones doing the clean-up-after thing. But, it suddenly came to me that this wasn't one of those times. Heck, we were out in the backyard for Pete's sake -- I could just line those little mud-bugs up and hose them off before wrapping them up in their Lightening McQueen and Cinderella towels and hauling them back into the casa. No harm; no foul. There really wasn't any reason to screech NO! (yes, sorry to say, but I would've screeched) other than it's what most of us would've thought we were supposed to do in that kind of situation. No thought, just an automatic response.
So what's a Jaja to do? Well, I turned off the auto-Jaja-pilot switch, removed myself from the pool (despite what I hear the beautification benefits of mud at the local spa are), and let Boogie and Bella have at it! And they had a ball! And none of us were a bit worse for wear. In fact, I think all of those laughing-released endorphins had us all feeling pretty darn good. (Even Papa, who arrived home from his golf game right in the midst of all this fun.)
I couldn't help but wonder what we miss out on in life -- little things and big things -- when we react to so much around us from that automatic-pilot mode. How often do we say no without even thinking about what we're responding to? (Or yes for that matter.) And just because we've always done it this way or because that's the way Sista Susie does it or because we're more concerned about what others will say or think of us than we are about whether something is really right or wrong or if it is a choice that even matters one way or the other.
How often have you felt like raising your hands in a praise service but didn't because you worried what those around you would think? (Or raised your hands because everyone else was even though you didn't feel like it?)
Ever stifled the urge to clap or laugh or sing or jump up and down for joy or pick chocolate instead of vanilla or paint red instead of off-white or wear denim instead of khaki or cotton instead of silk?
I'd be the first to tell you that, no, it's not always appropriate to make mud pies (I promise that if you're ever invited over for dinner at Casa St. Michael, I'll have Baby Daughter fix lasagna or spinich and mushroom-stuffed manicotti) but sometimes, just sometimes, there's nothing tastier, nothing that hits the spot any better, than good ol' mud pie. Yummmmm!
Tasting freedom . . . and grinnin'!
PS Sorry for the picture quality -- pics were taken with my cell phone!