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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