photo by hotblack

Short legs. A good smile. A definite tendency to be stubborn.

These are a few traits I inherited from my mom. These allow me to charm people (at least some of the time), get my way (even less of the time), and require the wearing of good heels – though not exactly in that order.

One of the coolest things I inherited from my mom that affects my mothering of my own kids is the permission to experiment and be messy.

Playdough, water paint, bubbles, mud pies made from her old, expired yeast packets. Though it required proper time and place, I was allowed to daydream in creativity without worrying (too much) about the mess it made. Many a day I came in from the alley behind our house covered head to foot in dirt, leaves, and twigs from exploration adventures with my best friend, or with grainy skin fresh from the sand box. And many times she was there to wipe up paint droplets from my artist’s hand and vacuum up chalk dust fallen from the easel board.

When she gardened, she provided me with a spade and a place to dig. When she cooked, I got a bit of batter in a bowl and a mixing spoon. And when she sewed, I got to play with buttons and scissors and thread.

Whenever I find myself not wanting to deal with the mess that will be made when my little boy wants to shovel dirt, pull grass, move rocks, explore the woods, swim in the bathtub, and help stir the cake batter – I remember what Mom did for me.

And when he’s all done, and I’m digging in and cleaning up the mess, he looks up and charms me with his great smile – the one he inherited from me.