Monday, July 30, 2007

Being a Kid Again

It was one of those rainstorms where you open the car door and get wet like you're stepping into a shower fully clothed, and I stood in it and waited on my three year old to prove how big he is and get out of the car by himself.

The car was soaked, the kid was soaked, and my jeans soaked up water like a sponge right up to my calves from standing in a parking lot puddle.

Inside the store, people looked at me like I was nuts and kidded with my son for his cuteness and his wetness. We had just about dried out when it was time to leave, and the rainstorm had only increased in intensity.

By the time we got home, my sloped driveway was a waterslide. There was no escaping the torrential downpour's moist effects, even with a 10 ft. run to the door.

So in a split decision, I decided to do something I hadn't done in more than twenty-five years. I decided to play in the rain.

My son enthusiastically agreed to go running and splashing about the front yard, as only three year olds can get excited when they get permission to jump in puddles. So we stomped, we splashed, and we danced in the rain, twirling around with our arms extended upwards and rain running into our eyes and off our chins. We laughed, we squealed, we generally made complete idiots of ourselves. Well, I did anyway; the performance was perfectly toddler-esque.

And you know, it was the most liberating feeling I've had in years. I felt completely free of all stress, all social structure, and all the pressure that age can bring with it -- I felt like I'd found my childhood again.

It lasted a mere fifteen minutes and then the rainstorm turned into a thunderstorm complete with lightning and once again responsibility required I usher us into the house safely. Peeling out of our wet clothes was like peeling the layers of childhood away until only an adult, a mom, and a civilized person remained. A few minutes later even the rain stopped, and life returned to normal as though the childish interlude had never even happened.

But my son learned that his mom can be the coolest person on the planet. And I learned that a little rain and a puddle or two can be more liberating than any journey of self-discovery. And more fun than any vacation... so long as I remember just to dance with arms spread out and let the rain run into my eyes and off my chin.

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