Alternative Uses for Pudding

When my daughter, Carrie, was about 18 months I had a neighbor who had a daughter about 9 month younger. It would drive me crazy that Elizabeth was never, and I mean NEVER allowed to get dirty. Her ice cream cones were always taken from her before drips and only returned when orderly and managed. Can you imagine? My ice cream cone eating strategy is, “Go for it!” drips and all. With the sweet comes the messy.

One day Elizabeth was delivered to me for a play date with Carrie. She arrived in an all white dress frilly dress while Carrie played in her grubby clothes that would soon be aborted for the delight of nakedness.

Ever the people pleaser, although with a rebellious side, I waited until her mom was gone. I spotted a harmless way to break the rules. I swooped the girls up and we went to the store and bought 9 packets (that’s all they had) of chocolate pudding. We got out the mixing bowls, measuring spoons, boxes of pudding at the ready, and one final essential ingredient…I stripped both girls naked. The white dress was carefully tucked out of harms way, and we then had a delightful time mixing (and tasting) volumes of this brown magical creamy stuff.

We weren’t done yet! Out came the wading pool. I plopped them in amidst the velvety substance and let them enjoy the messy-ness of life without limits. They savored their chocolate toes, and one another’s. Oh my goodness, what a delight it was for all of us. Fortunately, they weren’t old enough to question my sanity or to reveal to others my experiential learning play day experience. They just enjoyed the freedom of the squishiness and sweetness that surrounded them that fully activated their capacity for joy.

It was a group effort to clean up the evidence, and then they enjoyed the bubble bath that followed. All the brown water, but not the sweet memories, was safely down the drain.

Joy had been followed by more joy, and the time whizzed by. The doorbell rings.

When Elizabeth’s mom came to pick her up, her frilly white clothes were in place with nary a smudge, and I felt I had fulfilled my calling: promoting the adventure of freedom, joy, and happiness. I had followed my heart boldly, although slyly, and felt fully alive. I had introduced these little ones to a magical and important part of life that I wish, as adults, we could more easily access. I have to say that I had great satisfaction and peace in knowing that at least once in Elizabeth’s life she had known the wonder, benefits, and reality of full submersion in the messy-ness life offers.

It is an important reminder for all of us to remember life IS MESSY. Instead of resist it or complain about it, trust it and dive into the messy-ness of life with equal abandon and enjoy the process.

When I told Elizabeth’s mom about our day together, I left out a few details, but I know somewhere in this little girl’s heart she carries an imprint of having experienced heaven.

May our surrendering to the messy-ness of life be as sweet. Dive in. Have fun!

Love to us all, Rhonda

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