These Are the Rules
We were outside at our house after coming home from school. It had rained a bit the previous few days, so her small wading pool had some standing water in it. Knowing the plants would be thirsty as the humidity would be picking back up soon, I began to use one of her buckets to scoop water and pour it on the hydrangeas. Those guys get very thirsty. My daughter saw what I was doing and wanted to help. She reached for her pink plastic frying pan (what it was doing outside is anyone's guess). She filled it with water and gingerly stepped to the tree. At first she held it up to one of the branches, thinking a leaf would literally drink the water. When that didn't work, she dumped it at the base of the trunk and declared, "This tree is so hungry."
Bored with that she then filled her pan again and dumped the water on the ground nearby. Seeing a small puddle form, she determined it was ripe for jumping. She reveled in what happened when her small feet found the pooling water. She giggled at the sound of water being tamped and splashed and repeated the entire process. After a few more rounds, she looked and me and asked, "Daddy jump?"
My first instinct was to tell her, "No, that's too messy. Daddy doesn't want to get his shoes and pants muddy."
Luckily I caught myself and said nothing of the sort. I was mature enough to understand that the point of life isn't to stay clean. It's to get dirty with the people you love.
For most of our lives, we're given a set of rules. We learn regulations about what's proper, expected, common, or normal. We're told to stay clean, speak softly, eat all our vegetables, and be careful. But I've determined that these are not the rules we should be following.
These are the rules:
Love fully; not halfway.
When you are somewhere, be all the way there. Don't worry about taking pictures of everything with your phone.
Don't worry about what you look like. Worry about who you're with.
Notice people. Don't just look at them. Really notice them.
If you're lost in conversation, it's okay to be late.
Life and its spontaneous moments are a gift. As such, they should be treasured, protected, and shared.
Haters aren't worth your time.
Listen and watch. Then say something.
Don't judge. It's a waste of time.
When you laugh, laugh loud. When you cry, cry deep. And when you do either, do them in the presence of someone you love most.
And when your daughter asks you to jump in mud puddles on a Tuesday after school, jump high.