Thursday, June 4, 2009

Caught in the rain

You must know by now, readers, that I’m not a Hallmark-moments, chicken-soup-for-the-mother’s-soul kind of person. Its not that I’m against living in the moment and being grateful for the little things – on the contrary, I think it’s commendable. I just don’t usually have it in me.

But the great thing about life on earth is that every so often we end up surprising ourselves. Which happened to me just yesterday.

Primo’s been having a tough time going to school lately, and I’ve been taking extra measures to help him feel more comfortable saying goodbye at drop-off. One of these measures is bald-faced bribery. When he flatly told me yesterday that he was NOT going to school, “end of discussion,” I told him that if he did, I’d get him this Ed Emberely Halloween drawing book he’s been wanting. I promised I’d have it for him at pick-up. I’m very serious about keeping my promises to the kids, so there I was at pick-up, perky as can be, with the book in hand.

As it turned out, the book backfired. He was so excited about it that he ended up crying and miserable because his drawings didn’t look exactly like Ed Emberely’s. Then I tried to draw the pictures for him and he ended up crying because MY drawings didn’t look right. The entire meltdown happened on a bench in front of his school, with Seconda pressing buttons on a nearby ATM machine, petting ferocious-looking dogs without my permission and playing dangerously close to traffic.

It was clear that I was in for a long, awful afternoon with unhappy son and untamable daughter and I was pretty pissed about the prospect. In an effort to turn things around, I tried to take the kids to the playground but sad sack Primo refused to walk because “stuff” kept getting in his Crocs and this was very disquieting to him.

Furthermore, he informed me, I was being “selfish.”

He hastened to explain himself when he saw the look of disbelief flicker across my face.

“First you brought me this book I wanted after school," he started.

“Yes, I did.”

“That was nice.”

“Yes it was.”

“Then you drew pictures for me.”

“Yes, yes, that was nice, too.”

“And now you want to take me to the playground,” he concluded, having done a lousy job, in my opinion, of defending his position.

“Yes, I do want to take you to the playground,” I said, trying to manage my frustration and failing, “Because it is a BEAUTIFUL day and I want you to run around and have fun and leave me alone and be happy, LIKE A KID IS SUPPOSED TO DO!”

He grumpily conceded, and we, very slowly, walked to the playground. By the time we got there, the beautiful day was not so beautiful. In fact, it didn’t even look like day anymore. In fact, it was dark as Hades.

“It’s NIGHT,” Seconda noted.

“It looks like nighttime but it’s not night yet,” Primo corrected.

Raindrops had begun to fall. We could feel them. It didn’t just look like rain was coming. The rain had started. But it had taken us a flipping hour to get the playground, and we had done it, by God, we’d made it there, and nothing was going to make me turn around.

The kids played for about two minutes while the last, foolhardy caregivers fled with their charges in tow. We were the only people in the playground and it had become so dark, as Primo put it, it looked like we were “in a forest of darkness.”

And then it started to pour. A biblical rainfall that leaves you wondering if there’s an ark somewhere you could hitch a ride on.

A quick assessment of the stroller confirmed that there was no rain cover, no rain jackets, no umbrella, nothing in the way of deluge protection. And that’s when my Hallmark moment happened.

“Fuck it,” I thought.

“IT’S RAINING!!!!!”” I threw my head back and shouted.

“IT’S POURING!!!!” Primo sang

“DA OLD MAN IS ---- SNORING!!!!!!” Seconda brought it home.

Incredible sheets of water fell out of the sky so that within a minute we were sopping. The more it rained, the louder we sang.

“Let’s run to the awning!” Primo shouted.



“I AM WEEEEEEEEET!” yelled my son, laughing so hard he could hardly speak.

And we went on like this all the way home, yelling and whopping and laughing and loving the rain and life and each other. Especially each other.

When we got home, we peeled off our dripping clothes, wrapped ourselves in towels, and curled up on the couch to read a long book.

Turns out it wasn’t such an awful afternoon after all.