My title sounds fun, huh? Under non-holiday circumstances, my 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and I have a blast jumping in puddles. It started as a fun activity when the pandemic began. When there was nowhere to go, and we desperately needed to get out of our house during a rainy day.
However, on Christmas Eve last year, puddle jumping was not on the itinerary. And, we certainly didn’t have our usual umbrellas, raincoats and rain boots.
Let me rewind for a minute to December 23, 2020. Also known by many (or at least me) as “Christmas Eve Eve.” We had arranged to have two trees cut down outside the front of our house. Our toddler watched from our front window, mesmerized by the process. Who are we kidding? My husband and I even struggled to get work done, regularly peering out the window too. Little did we know, this would not be the only form of entertainment provided by the cutting down of our trees.
The next day, it poured. Our front yard looked like a monster truck rally had occurred. After dressing Charlotte and her newborn sister, Riley, in their new matching blue dresses, white tights and pink sparkly shoes, we headed out the door to my sister-in-law’s house for Christmas Eve dinner with the entire family of my husband, Scott.
Scott was putting Riley in her car seat, while I carried presents and food. Charlotte began to walk into our muddy front yard. Slowly at first. Despite yells to get out of the yard and in her car seat, she ran, jumped high and landed on her butt. It happened so fast, yet it sort of felt like slow motion. I had an out-of-body experience with the immediate thought, “Did that just happen?”
Needless to say, the white tights, new dress and shoes were covered in mud and were no longer an outfit option. Deep in the throes of the pandemic, this was a rare outing. With zero plans and rare shopping excursions, there weren’t dressy outfit backup options. The best I could do was a long-sleeve striped cotton dress. Charlotte looked ready for a Fourth of July barbecue.
Charlotte had behaved so well all year, yet she decided in the final hours before Santa came that she would throw in the towel for the “nice list.” Thankfully, Santa took pity on her and us all, realizing she didn’t understand the need for the appropriate wardrobe when jumping in muddy puddles.
A moral of the story? Get your craziest kid in her car seat first and take her out last. That’s the least opportunity for trouble.
The greatest lesson of all? It doesn’t matter what we’re wearing, or what we’re doing for the holidays. It’s about togetherness. This year, I’m hosting my entire extended family. If we’re all blessed with health and able to gather, that’s really all that matters. The rest is just gravy on my Christmas turkey.
Lauren Burke Meyer is a Severna Park native who was inspired to write Lauren’s Law as a humorous play on the well-known Murphy’s Law adage: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
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