Yep. The gross, germy, potentially biohazardous balls.
Jump in, head first. Just do it.
My husband and I took Oliver to an indoor playground today; it's rainy and he's been cooped up in the house for ages. He needed to run, jump, scream and just be free. I love this place, Kidz Town , they are pretty diligent with their cleaning and maintenance, and after 3 years of COVID this is a big deal to me. BUT - kids are germy. COVID or no. You just have to accept; children are gross little carriers of all germs big and small. Kids are lovely, but gross. For sure.
Oliver took great joy in running amok, rolling around in the balls, jumping, falling, and I don't kid you, rubbing his face on the bottom of the ball pit. And we totally let it happen. You see, any parent knows, that at some point, your children are going to be exposed to germs. Whether it's in the ball pit, or a best friend who just sneezed and gave your child a snotty hug. It happens. You simply can't avoid it.
You can try, you can wash your child's hands (please do), you can vaccinate your child (please do), you can help your child learn proper hygiene (please do, but WOW is that hard!) I distinctly remember Febreezing my oldest as he left for school one day - you do what you have to do...
But what happens when our kids are exposed to germs? When the ball pit, full of things we shall not mention, is entered, and ENJOYED by our kids? Their immune system kicks in. Might they get sick? Totally. But in the process, their little bodies work and develop immunities to battle future ball exposure. Or whatever snotty exposure comes their way. It's a scientific fact that exposure builds immunity.
Do you remember back in the 70s when our parents had chicken pox parties? Right??? Yeah, that is not what I am suggesting we do! But wow. And I just dated myself.
We do what we can, we trust the process (that we have vetted and feel comfortable with) and we live. Mike and I vaccinated Oliver, and we have to let him live. We can't just live in fear. And every time he meets a germ, his body kicks in to action and begins planning a response. So (in a healthy child) he might get sick, but will come out stronger.
Guess what? This awesome response to germs, is also how we respond to life circumstances. To challenges, to adversity. We all know that we cannot avoid aversity. We cannot live a life that skirts challenges, obstacles, interference and hinderances. A life that LIVES will have to face all of these.
That is OK. It is actually awesome.
I am not grateful for the losses I have endured. For the challenges I have faced. For the heartbreak I have endured.
I. am not. grateful.
I am grateful for the ways I have navigated this life. I am grateful for the strength I created to endure the losses. I am grateful for the appreciation I have developed. Losing my father has focused my heart on the present - on the time I have now. The moments, the laughter, the love. This is my heart's immune response to germs (loss). My heart is strengthened and given clarity. I have the opportunity to see and feel and respond to the love in my life.
Now, more than ever, I look at Mike and hold his face in my heart. I put Oliver to bed, and relish his hand over my face as he falls asleep.
I guess my thought is this: prepare for the worst, but embrace each moment. Suffering is not desired, but can be used against itself.
So for all the loss, all the hurt, all the pain and suffering. USE IT.
Jump into the ball pit.
Throw balls everywhere.
Rub your head on the floor.
Life is your ball pit - own it, master it, use it.
PS: A mom was letting her infant lick the balls, and I really wanted to use that as my title - but. Yeah. Funny and all. But no. :)