As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to play in the rain. Growing up in East Texas, there was plenty of it. It is one of the things I miss most about TX are the big thunderstorms. I remember watching the weather turn windy, and you knew a good one was coming. It was exciting and a little scary at the same time.
Since rain was plentiful in the part of Texas that I grew up in, so were leaf races, and tree bark races. I remember playing outside barefoot in the warm rain of an early Summer thunderstorm and loving every minute of it. It is a happy memory from childhood.
I remember my husband telling me once that he didn't really play in the rain as a kid because it was usually really cold. It's true, the rain here in UT is definitely colder. I thought that was sad because that is one of the things from my childhood I remember loving the most.
Yesterday, I sent my kids out into the backyard around the usual hour while I was going to make dinner. I noticed a dark cloud overhead and commented, "Oooh. That's a dark cloud! Let me know if you hear any thunder". A good TX size thunderstorm almost never happens in UT. I went inside leaving the three kids playing in the sand box in the back yard and the back door open.
After about 5 minutes, I hear the kind of screams that signal terrified children. And, I mean terrified. I could hardly hear the thunder that had caused the chaos because they were so loud. I walk quickly out there, and see my 4 year old sobbing, the baby crying because he doesn't know what the heck is going on, and Avery quickly, and in a little bit of panic-mode trying to cover up the sandbox. I start laughing, and tell them "it's just a little bit of thunder." I pick up the trembling baby. He was shaking like a leaf. A very terrified leaf. As soon as my kids saw that I was laughing, and the thunder did not mean the end of the world, the tears stopped.
The baby might be scarred for life, though.
We stood outside for a little bit longer and heard some more rumblings, but the rain was slow in coming. Soon, the big drops started to fall, and we ran inside and out to the front porch to watch the rain.
In that moment, I had a HUGE pile of laundry to fold. I had not even started dinner and it was quickly approaching 5 o' clock, and my house was a mess.
As we watched the rain fall, Avery asked if she could go out in it. I hesitated for a moment thinking of everything there was to do, and how if one went out, they would all want to go out. I thought of the cold, wet children that would certainly be whiny after, and the work it would take to clean them up, and figure out what the heck we were going to eat for dinner.
Then, I remembered MY fun times in the rain.
And, I said yes.
I have a hard time letting go and just letting my kids be wild and free. I sometimes fear I'm the most uptight mom in the whole world.In that instant, I could have said no so easily and gone about my chores while the kids found something to do inside to entertain themselves. Yet, I would have missed out on the joy that I experienced watching them play in the rain. I took pictures and watched them splash in puddles, help each other roll their pants up, jump while I tried to get the perfect shot, run back to me squealing (or crying) when they heard thunder, and just be thrilled to be experiencing a rare thunderstorm. I was so happy to see them happy.
That moment might just be one that they remember over the moments where I say no.
That moment will definitely be one that I remember.
That moment made me a happier mom, and made them happier kids.
One moment like this can define both motherhood and childhood at the same time.
Because, when I look back on the job I did as a mother, I will remember moments where I said yes. I won't remember that pile of laundry that didn't get folded until the next day. I will remember the happy moment of watching my baby experience rain on his face for the first time.
And, they will remember what is most important in childhood. Joy.