Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dirty Knees

Dirty knees and sticky fingers!
    Dirty knees! These words conjure up a lot of images, particularly in the minds of moms who do a majority of the laundry. In my house that would be my husband; therefore, I wonder what images come to the forefront of his mind when he sees our kid's dirty knees.
    This weekend, my family and three others went camping in my favorite DC spot - Patuxent River Park, Jug Bay (read my May 2011 review of Jug Bay). Shortly after arriving on Friday evening, all eight kid's knees were dusty from running up and down the trail, kneeling on the dirty dock and sitting by the campfire to roast marshmallows. Saturday morning's bright sunshine brought aquatic adventures. The kids couldn't wait to get the rented canoes and kayaks to explore the abundant wildlife along the shore and show off their paddling skills to one another. They all negotiated who was going to kayak back to the dock by themselves and who was paddling a canoe; yes, with an adult. Upon reaching the campsite dock, negotiations continued.
    Most of us forgot that the Patuxent River is a tidal river and the tide was vacating the shore. Results, muck! Thick, dark grey muck - the kind that suctions everything that accidently falls on top of it. Including three girls. Well that was last year when two of them tried to walk along, what they thought was, the dry shore. Nope, they quickly sunk to their knees. The third tried to be the savior. That failed also. As parents, we watched the scenario unfolded, including problem solving to unsuction their limbs from the thick, dark quicksand. The clean-up job with no bathrooms was fun. Not! So this year when the tide was out by lunch time, the kids were hungry and wanted to dock. The life line was deployed and water skiing on mud took place.
     For me, kid's dirty knees mean they are engaging in imaginative adventures outdoors, laughing, smiling and being carefree and independent. The best part of the weekend was watching my kids and their friends be excited to create fun for themselves however they decided - following the inlet paths among the reeds on a kayak, using sticks as weapons to conquer an opponent or territory, sleeping in a tent without a parent, sharing a hammock or a seat on the dock to chat and learning to paddle a canoe to be the captain of your own ship. Dirty knees = outdoor happiness!

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