Getting My Hands Dirty

I’ve spent a day thinking about my past–the joys, the regrets, the disappointments, and the everyday–and I’ve pondered which day I would relive if I could. As a result, I’ve re-experienced too many different emotions today, and I’m left sitting in a funk. Nonetheless, I continued on with this writing prompt.

My first instinct was to go back to my wedding day and experience a day of perfection one more time.  I’ve never been happier than that day, holding the hand of Matt as my long white veil and train followed behind wherever we’d go.  The smile didn’t leave my face from the moment I walked down the aisle, through our vows and countless pictures, to the night when we danced and celebrated and drove off together to never go home to different houses again. But in the end, I decided to hold on to that beautiful memory and pick another day.  After all, the two leads in that perfect day are still co-starring in this story, and I’d rather focus on living more perfect days together than reliving one that had already passed.

So naturally, my mind wandered to a day I’d like to erase.  I couldn’t actually remember the exact day, but I decided I should go back to when I said ‘yes’ to dating a certain boy.  I don’t have many regrets, but I regret that entire overly-dramatic relationship for the time I wasted in it, and if I could do anything over in life, I would’ve said ‘no’ and taken back that time.  However, even though thinking about that relationship left me depressed, I’m certain that I learned from my mistakes and now have an experience that will one day help me parent my daughters better.

My mind wandered over a few more events in my life, from gymnastics competitions to days when I blew it with my kids, but I ultimately decided on a day when I was three or four.  On this particular day in nursery school, I was supposed to finger paint.  Most children have no problem sliding their hands throughout the paint, making beautiful creations with their little fingers, but I would not participate.  I didn’t want to get my hands dirty. The kind teachers got me popsicle sticks to rub around in the paint instead.

And while I know that God created me as a unique individual, I can’t help but wish that I were a little less afraid to get my hands dirty.  How many times did I hold back from splashing in puddles or rolling around in the mud as a kid?  And how many carefree moments did I miss out on as an adult?

Cleanliness and order an even inhibition have their places, but so does letting go.  And if I could go back to when I was that timid little girl in nursery school, I would laugh and squeal as I squeezed those different colors of paint through my fingers and down my wrists.

I don’t want to change my life–every experience has made me the person that I am today–but I wish I lived some days more fully.  Consequently, I’m getting my daughter finger paints for Christmas.

Linking up late to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It

13 thoughts on “Getting My Hands Dirty

  1. Awesome post! Great reflection…your posts always make me step back and think about how I live my life, and put things into better perspective. Thank you for that.


  2. I don't like getting my hands dirty either, resulting in my kids never running their hands through finger paints as well…the activity has never crossed my mind.

    Off to buy some butcher block paper.

    Thanks Jen.


  3. Good for you, Jen! And, now you can relive that day with Hannah Grace.

    Get messy, creative and have a ball! Squish and squeeze that paint and dot little noses, too.

    It’s ok to be different 🙂


  4. Please keep the finger paints at your house. I don't like to put my hands in wet paint. If you recall we had a semi finger painting incident when Hannah Grace dumped a can of whie paint in our dining room on floors we recently had refinished. I know it's true because Caleb and Max tattled on her.

    But then on the other side of the coin, maybe Hannah has my artistic gift of drawing and painting…
    Hmm….. however still keep the finger paints at your house.

    Your loving father


    1. I didn't forget–my hope is that if I get her finger paints, she'll stop using ketchup, maple syrup, markers, etc. But don't worry; I'll leave them at home. 🙂


  5. Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Reading through your post I really related to that one boyfriend you wish you would have said no to. When asked what is the one thing you wish you could do over, that has always been my response. I wish I would have said no. I wasted a year of my life, and not only was it wasted, it was wasted in so many awful ways. So glad that God pulled me out of that mess and led me to the life I have now. Nice meeting you!


    1. That bad boyfriend made me realize what a treasure I had in my husband. God doesn't waste anything! 😉 Nice meeting you, too!


  6. It's hard to imagine a girl who had the guts to fly and spin through the air risking serious injury not have the stomach for finger paints. I kind of agree with you. I too didn't mind risking my life in the name of fun and adventure, but paint under my finger nails? No thanks. Along with your gift of writing it seems as though God has also given you the gift of security. It's refreshing to have a talent that allows you to be so secure in your life that you can look deeply at yourself and your motivations. My guess is that when you do decide to get your hands dirty, they're going to be the dirtiest! Please keep us posted and attach the picture of your hands with paint all over them. Enjoy the weekend with your co-star.


    1. Thank you for such a nice comment! It's funny–while I am very secure in certain parts of my life, I find myself at times holding on to some of those insecurities that made up my teenage years. I will post pictures when we have our big finger painting day!


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