I'll admit to trying to hustle my children into the house today when we returned home from Pittsburgh. The kids had a great time but they were happy to be home and wanted to run outside. I was tired and compiling a mental list of things I needed to do. When they asked to play outside, I'm sure I sighed too heavily and loudly before proclaiming that I needed a cup of coffee. I got my coffee and they rode their bikes in the driveway and played with the kittens we have.
When it started to rain, I took it as my opportunity to coerce them inside. Finally, I could throw some laundry in, load the dishwasher, and begin dinner. And then my daughter asked me to swing in the rain. And it was the way she phrased the question, "Mommy, may I swing in the rain?" that made me agree.
Filled with complete joy, she climbed into her tree swing as the rain drops fell slowly at first and then more heavily as she soared higher into the sky. The tree sheltered us a bit but we still felt the rain as it fell. Her joy was contagious and I started to sing "Singing in the Rain," except I sang "swinging" for every "singing." She laughed and laughed and caught on quickly, and our voices rose above the hum of her daddy mowing grass in the rain. The rain was no match for him or his daughter, so much like him.
And while the list remained (and remains even now), I know I made the right choice. We had waffles for dinner and that made everyone happy. I'll load the dishwasher and run it in a bit (maybe). The laundry can wait until tomorrow.
I remember when I dreamed of living in the country. I wanted my kids to be outside, running wild and free. I wanted them to play in the mud and dance in the rain. I wanted a life less scheduled and planned. I wanted time simply to be and enjoy nature, them, this one life that's mine.
I momentarily forget. I momentarily lapse into old habits--the stress of things undone, the glorification of busy. I wonder if I won't struggle forever with these things but the difference now is that I catch myself almost every time and in those moments, I do my best to remember the moments of swinging in the rain are fleeting. And maybe it means I have five loads of laundry (clean today but sometimes dirty) piled high on the sofa in my bedroom. Maybe it means that waffles are for dinner. But I won't miss the smile on my daughter's face as she soars high into the sky under a summer rain cloud. I just won't.
Thanks for Mothering the Divide with me as we all try harder to sigh less and be present more this summer. It's not always easy but when we choose to follow our children into the rain, we won't ever be disappointed.
Join Kara on Facebook for a daily story, just like this one.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.