“Can we go out an play in the puddles?”
“Not today. Too cold.” It was gray all day and grew rawer as the day went on. Our wood stove is cranking out heat again after a few days off. And I know my kids and our neighbors didn’t just want to splash in puddles in their rain boots, they wanted to run and romp and roll in them. They wanted to dump murky water over each others’ heads and need an outdoor shower before they could come in the house.
They did that—with our okay—last year. We okayed it because the spring sunshine made it hard to head home and get ready for bed and there was a little wine left from dinner and they were so excited about it.
I okayed it because I remembered my mom saying yes, some 30+ years before on vacation in New Hampshire. I remembered the sheer joy of jumping and splashing and lolling in the mud, the soft-grittiness of it. I smiled thinking about lying down in the puddle like it was a tub. I remember laughing and dripping in my teal terry cloth romper (forever stiff with dirt after that), my favorite outfit that summer.
Today was too late, too cold, but one day last spring I said, “Yes.”
“Remember when mom let us roll around in that big mud puddle?” My sister and I both do.
My little one asks me for stories about me when I was little every day on the way to school. I always begin, “Once upon a time, when I was a little girl . . . ” stalling, trying to come up with a story I haven’t told her. She doesn’t care though, as long as it’s not too short, so I tell her about the mud puddle and the time we went camping and I woke up in my own bed. I tell her about the time I went missing but was in my garden the whole time and about my sister’s rabbit that peed on me and the time the neighbor’s horse charged at my dad while he was getting our new bikes out of the car.
I wonder what stories she and her sister will remember and retell.
What memory has stuck with you since you were a child? What family stories do you retell?
Share your stories in comments or with somebody in your family.
Take some time to write today—and join me for a month of writing with Grow. We’ll connect with those stories that have stuck with you and the moments right now that you want to stick. You don’t have to say yes to puddle jumping, but say yes to some creative time and support for you.
I’m a saver. As a kid, I had stickers with my name on them that I rarely used because maybe there would be a better use for them down the line.
To this day, I still have notepads that say “A Big note from Sara” that I got when I was maybe 10. Saved. Then not really of interest. It’s become scrap paper.
I bought this journal in the spring of 1993 when I was studying in Italy. It’s still empty.
When I bought it, I was in the middle of another journal, so I set it aside to use later. Except when I finished that journal, I didn’t pick up the pretty marbled one.
Over the years I intended to use it as a travel journal or fill it up with quotes I love. Didn’t happen.
Since I bought that journal, I’ve filled up steno pads and spiral bound blank books, composition notebooks and clearance rack journals. I wasn’t quite ready to use that book. It seemed too pretty, too expectant.
That marbled book from Italy is up next. I’ll launch it with a carefully chosen pen and neat writing, and then I’ll hop into bed some night grab the crappy ballpoint that doesn’t really flow. I’ll scrawl out my frustrations and scribble out the wrong word. And it will be okay, because those words—mundane or wise, well or ill chosen—matter.
I have years of words journals and notebooks. There are places where I tried to hard or was too tired or couldn’t quite find the words I wanted. Within all that are the stories that make up my life, the moments that crushed me or held me afloat. Within the pages of my notebooks and journals there are patterns that show the parts of me that stay steady and the slow, incremental changes over time.
Do you have a journal that you aren’t using? Start filling it up.
Sit for 15 minutes and write about what you see right in front of you or daydream about what you’d do with a day all to yourself or list places you want to visit. Make a grocery list to prove to yourself those blank pages aren’t sacred. And then start filling them up with your ideas and observations and memories and dreams. Your words and ideas are worthy.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to fill up that journal or want some encouragement getting those words out on paper, join me for Grow, an online writing retreat, this April.
We’ll write regularly, make space for things you love, take time to really notice the world around and within us, and build deeper connections.
Come write, come grow with me!
Today while I waited for the bus, I saw this:
Doesn’t look like much does it?
But it’s my garden.
A little more melt and the rhubarb will start unfurling while we watch. A little more snow retreating and I’ll sprinkle spinach seeds and look for hints of cilantro in the herb section. Overly optimistic? Maybe. Yeah, a little.
But closer to the house, on the sunny side, the ground is truly bare. The mounds where the hops grow, the ever weedy flower bed that runs along the playroom, the patch of daily lilies by the back door—clear of snow.
Today while I waited for the bus, after I spied that tiny patch of garden ground, I picked up the kids’ rake, which had loitered by the back door all winter, and started raking out brown leaves and dead debris by the back door.
Then I squatted in my winter coat and tugged dead grass from the border. My fingers wiggled into the cold damp earth and came out muddy and chilled. I only poked for a few minutes, but when I went in they smelled like dirt. Ah, spring.
Snow still covers most of my yard and almost all of my garden. Yet I yearn to get out there and start planting. Today I scratched in the dirt.
Call it desperation.
I have my seeds. I’m ready to plant them. I’m ready to grow.
What are you yearning to do? What baby steps are you taking?
I’m looking forward to the growing season, and to Grow, my online writing retreat for spring. Come plant your ideas and see them bloom. I’d love to write with you.