The clouds began to darken as I pulled into the driveway. “Whew! We made it home just in time!” My two-year-old daughter was sitting in the backseat. In my rearview mirror, I could see her looking out the window, staring at the trees as the wind picked up and the leaves began to fall.
I realized I had loitered too long when the Plop! of a raindrop hit the windshield. Plop! Plop! They started to come faster and faster, so I unbuckled, opened the door and went to get my baby bear out of the back. When her feet touched the ground, the rain moved to a steady pace. Drip. Drip. Drip drip drip drip.
I grabbed her hand and bolted for the door, but after a few steps, she stopped me. “Mommy,” she said. “Look!” I turned to look at her and found her body stilled in the outdoors with hands raised and face upward. The rain covered her face in seconds and she giggled with joy. “It’s wet, Mommy!” It was raining and she was in love with the world.
This moment is one I’ll remember forever. It was the result of an effort to show my daughter that rainy days aren’t worth gloomy moods. I had forgotten it, though, in my effort to get us inside and dry.
This spontaneity, this freedom of expression, is the reason I’m teaching my daughter that rainy days are the best kind. Rainy days have the power to teach us a great number of lessons. Here are a few that I’ve found to be true:
How to Be Spontaneous
Just as my daughter reached for the flooding heavens, she let go of what was “supposed to” happen. We were “supposed” to go inside. We were “supposed” to be warm and dry. We weren’t “supposed” to get wet. But instead of following the norm, or a set of unspoken rules about behavior in the rain, she threw her hands up and enjoyed the spontaneity of the rain in all its unexpected glory.
This moment set a foundation for many other moments of spontaneity, the benefits of which I hope she will fully reap for the rest of her life.
How to Be Flexible
You’ve heard the old saying, “The best laid plans often go awry.” This is true when you plan ahead and find the weather to be uncooperative. You know — like on a wedding day with an outdoor ceremony or a trip to the park to climb on the playground. Rain can definitely cause some issues in these scenarios. A white dress in a muddy field does not a happy bride make. Same goes for slippery playground equipment, where the potential for injury increases, both for the child and for the mother.
However, rainy wedding photos are gaining in popularity and glamour. And playgrounds — when safety precautions are taken — are definitely less populated in the rain and my baby bear can roam free without other children to share with for the day. Flexibility allows us to take situations that are out of our control and make them as beautiful as they can be. Isn’t this something we should all try to heed?
How to Be Quiet in a Loud World
The soft dribble of rain on a roof is soothing. A sound often mimicked in baby sound machines, its relaxing qualities shouldn’t be lost on our ears. When it rains, I hold my daughter tight and we take a few minutes to listen to the rain. We imagine what it’s saying or where the clouds have been before they were over our house.
It’s a beautiful thing, this. It gives us a break from the hurried loudness our world so often produces, and helps her (and me) understand that sometimes the quiet can whisper a beautiful story.
How to Slow Down
Our world moves at a fast pace. We’re always racing here and there, fighting time. Rainy days allow us to slow down a little. Some of it just happens by nature. The low lights of a cloudy morning mean we may lie in bed a few minutes longer. The rain-topped roads mean slower driving for safety.
When the pulse of a day changes and slows, we’re forced to slow, also. This means we’re able to more fully enjoy small moments, like those with our faces turned upwards in the rain or cuddled up with a blanket, a warm drink and a good book.
How to Appreciate What We Have
When my daughter threw her hands up in the air, it made me think just how crazy glad I am that she’s alive. Here she is, a not quite three-year-old, showing me what it means to live and be glad for every moment. Who cares if we get a little wet? I wouldn’t miss having a soggy face for the world if it meant hearing her giggle with pure joy. And when we came inside, dried off and snuggled with a book, well … that felt pretty awesome, too!
I want my daughter to know that rainy days are a time to slow down, laugh while jumping in puddles, cuddle up with a good book and enjoy what is handed to us. This is why rainy days are so much more than a day with rain. This is why rainy days are the best days.