Friday, August 19, 2011

Come on with the rain, there's a smile on my face

Okay, no, not me personally. I dislike rain. I'm fine with it if I'm inside at the time. Best-case rain scenario: comfy chair, cup of tea, good book, warm fireplace. Cat purring on lap. Ideally not dislodging tea. (Bit of a moot point since I'm catless at the moment.)

Outside in rain is bad. It's wet. It feels clammy. It frizzes out my hair and then I flip because I hate when my hair frizzes. You have to be careful when you have curly hair. Why yes, my name is Frieda, how did you know?

So having a picnic in the rain did not seem like the most fabulous idea to me. Except that we were meeting up with, among other people, friends who were visiting from across the country, and this was the only day to see them, and who knew when we'd see them next. Last time we'd seen them? I was still pregnant with kiddette, who is almost 2.

So I made my bean dip and we headed south. Hoping that maybe the rain would let up.

It did not. It became ark-worthy. Fortunately the park had a fairly sturdy pavilion that we were able to hide under. And by "we" of course I mean the parents. The kids, nearly all 19ish of them, gleefully dashed out into the rain. They puddle-jumped. They chased each other. They played in mud. Kiddo made his toy truck go swimming. Kiddette happily wandered the park path, raincoat hood down, hair soaked.

Some of them had raincoats. Some of them had boots. Some just had T-shirts and shorts on. All were equally drenched, and none of them cared, including the barely-walking toddler who was following kiddette around. We watched them from under the pavilion, occasionally shrugging at each other.

I do realize that letting one's kids play in the rain non-stop for a couple hours would probably raise a few eyebrows in the antibacterial playdate era. But you know, they had a blast. I keep forgetting: Kids don't think like grownups. They think, I'm not supposed to be doing this and it's awesome!

And hey, I can remember going down to the neighborhood beach as a kid and jumping into the water fully clothed with my friends, because we didn't have our bathing suits, and because it was fun. And our parents let us. Even though we'd drip all over the car seats on the way home.

(As our Pacific Northwest friends pointed out, if they kept their kids inside every time it rained, they'd never get outside at all. So everyone does everything in the rain there. In other words, we are East Coast wusses.)

So despite all appearances, the party was a success. And I got a reminder that sometimes the best thing a parent can do for their kids is lighten up. Even if the kids' shoes take four days to dry out afterward.

Totally wrecked my hair, of course. What did you expect?

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