Why We Need the Rain: A Lesson In Spontaneity

Written by Emily

Every time it rains, I think of the Sesame Street song from my childhood: “It’s a rainy day. It’s a rainy day. It’s raining outside and I can’t go out to play. Why do we need the rain, anyway?”

It’s a strange Pavolvian response. I wonder how many times I saw that Sesame Street episode for the song to be seared into my brain and conditioned to play at the first sight of rain drops.

I used to love rain when I was a little girl. I have memories of swinging on our old porch swing, inhaling the smell of the wet earth all around us and staring at the resilience of the fluffy pink flowers on our mimosa tree in the back yard, our climbing tree. I loved playing soccer in the rain, practicing diving headers and getting covered in mud years after it was socially acceptable to be covered in mud.

And then I grew up.

Sadly, rain has become more of a nuisance than a treat. I can answer the Sesame Street rain song question: Why do we need the rain? I know the purpose and necessity of it, sure, but as a mom of three young children, the rain can really be a drag.

Rainy Day #1: Great! We cuddle up. We have a picnic in the living room. We create an obstacle course with our furniture. We have a dance party in the kitchen. We make junk salads with my cooking scraps. Fun!

Rainy Day #2: I hope the museum’s open.

Rainy Day #3: Why do we need the rain, anyway?

Recently though, I was hurdled back to my childhood love of the rain. It was 1:30 in the afternoon. If I were still a teacher, I would have been teaching sixth period or something and looking out the window dreading carrying all of my schoolwork to my car in the driving rain. Then I would remember my laptop and the inevitable fact that I never pack an umbrella. Ugh! Since that is no longer my scene, I found myself at a playground with my wild three, a few mom friends and their wild crew. We ignored the darkening clouds. We said things like, “Oh it’ll pass” and “Oh it looked like this yesterday, and it was fine” and “Weathermen never know what they’re talking about.” You know, the usual.

And then the rain came.

We all ran to the nearest pavilion, huddling together and laughing at our wet selves.  And then one of the kids ran into the rain. And then another. And then another. The brave three looked at the moms and a silent moment hung in the air, the tangible, longer-than-a-moment silence where parents make decisions and kids wait (for the kids it lasts at least a year). We moms looked at each other and rather than shout for our little ones to take cover, we shrugged–in solidarity. The smiles painted across our children’s faces were epic. The other four children followed their friends before it was too late and their mothers turned back into the mothers they knew (bubble bursters, rule followers, etc.).

We moms watched and listened to our children run around in the rain for two hours or more. The giggles mixed with the rain to create a symphony of spring.

It was, to date, the best play date I’ve ever had. There in the pouring rain, my children rekindled my love of the rain. And I felt younger.

The perfect play date ended, like all play dates do. I had to strip Noah and Chloe down to their unders for the car ride home. We giggled and laughed at our wet selves, and I thought of a million reasons why we need the rain.

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8 comments for “Why We Need the Rain: A Lesson In Spontaneity

  1. Cathy
    June 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    This brought back a rush of childhood memories, MY childhood, too! I remember staying out in a summer rain and watching the rushing rain whirl homemade “boats”-any old found objects- down the street! Carefree fun!

    • June 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Perhaps that’s the next rainy day adventure for us–boats made from whatever we can find. I love it!

  2. Amelia
    June 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    If it rained hard enough, my parents’ street became a rushing river, and as long as it wasn’t lightning, my sisters and cousins and I could play in it. Looking back on that, I could never believe my mom and aunt would let us play in the street gutters. Now I understand that they just wanted us out of the house and out of their way! Hahaha…

    • June 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Not really Amelia, I remember your aunt and I splashing around in the gutters, What fine examples we were!

      • Amelia
        June 19, 2012 at 7:53 am


  3. June 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Amelia, you’re probably right that they wanted you out of the house, but you probably made good memories there in the gutters. Win-Win! I need to let my kids get dirtier to be honest. I used to love it, and I forgot that until recently!

  4. Wha
    June 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    This post made me smile BIG! You are all awesome moms!!

    • June 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks so much, Wha! You are an awesome, mom! Your little ones (although not so little anymore!) are so precious! I hope we can do a play date in the rain with you 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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