There we were: The final day of scout day camp.
I wasn't with my son's group, but I knew what he had been up to all week: The climbing, the range practice, the kickball, the fishing, the hiking...the evidence of the day was proudly displayed on his clothes.
But none of that prepared me for watching more than 100 children get sprayed by a firetruck hose and then wallow (there really is no other word for that) in the mud. They stomped in mud puddles, they rolled in the dirt, they kept running toward the stream of water to clean them off enough so they could get dirty again.... Part of me was horrified as I thought about the time and that these children would be packed off into their parents' cars in about an hour. The stains on the car seats...the wet socks and shoes...the smell...
And then, I remembered that these were kids, and they were having so much fun. They should get dirty while they still can.
The firetruck hose stopped and scores of wet children came up to me, asking me if I wanted a hug. Of course I let those soggy little dirt monsters hug me. It made them so happy to do that. They shook like wet dogs to try and get me and the other parents even more wet. They giggled and ran off to find other adults to terrorize.
It was a good reminder for me that we all need to play in the dirt some time. It's good for our physical and mental health - microbes and fresh air and giving our brains a break from over stimulation...that is what time outside does for us.
So, this summer, as my son embarks on new adventures at camp, I will remind myself that he is supposed to get dirty. (And I'll keep trash bags in the car to lay down over the back seats.)
How much time are your children spending outside this summer? Tell me in the comments.