“Get down!” I called after my 5 year-old son. He did not listen. As I called out again, he had already adeptly scaled the 5 foot post and rail fence, even though it was wrapped neatly on either side with heavy gauge chicken wire. He looked back at me with a triumphant “I’m king of the world!” smile as he balanced precariously in his shiny black penny loafers and newly pressed green corduroys, both last worn at Christmas. We were in Massachusetts for a blessing ceremony, the barn and animals were on the adjacent grounds. It proved to be too much of a novelty for my youngest child, who still desperately wants any kind of animal, other than one of the three god damn Webkinz he doesn't already have, to call his own pet.
“I’m going to name the big cow ‘Mommy,’” he proudly (and loudly) proclaimed as he pointed to the bored looking animal leaning up against the barn at the far end of the paddock. He seemed more and more wobbly as he strained to get a better look at the pig and the other animals. He was too busy naming the pig after his older brother and the chickens after preschool girlfriends to notice that the wire he was leaning on had begun to bend. He was now balancing his upper torso on the very top of the fence. Head, arms and chest flailing happily on the muddy barnyard side, high polished shoes and clean pants vaguely hanging on to the other.
“Get down!” I said for the third time. I was almost next to him, but not close enough if anything would happen. “Buddy, I can just see you going head-first into all of that mud.” He looked around, as if to survey the ground around him. It was a warmer than usual February day. A warm rain had fallen overnight, melting all remnants of snow.
He shot himself back up, upright, gave me a sheepish sideways glance and said, “It’s not just mud mommy, there’s poop, too.” And without missing a beat, he gracefully hopped down off the fence and was off if search of his siblings. I was left there with the animals thinking, if that had been any other kid, there would have been tears, dirty clothes and a long ride home.
But, I think my 5 year old philosopher nailed it, because, sometimes mud is mud and poop is poop…and sometimes, it is just mixed together. And that is life!