Oh how I wish sometimes that my eyes took real photographs. There are strings of moments where I find myself present, hopeful, loving my boys and wishing so much that someone was standing right next to me photographing it.
We have actually experienced a real winter in Southern California the past month or so. It has felt incredibly amazing. Bundling up to walk to school, sleeping under loads of quilts, drinking tea anytime of the day…I could go on and on. We walk L to school every morning, rain or shine. Some mornings my husband walks with him and others mornings the three of us (L, C and me) walk together. It is an adventure every morning. There is so much to see and experience in the short walk to school.
The other morning it was raining. I don’t mean the misty kind of rain that soaks you all the same but isn’t too hard to walk in. This was a downpour, rain coming down in sheets, water flowing like rivers on the sides of the streets, drainage ditches flowing near capacity and I planned to drive to make things a little easier for all of us. By the time I found all the rain gear, dressed all of us and walked out the front door and saw the line-up for the school drop off was practically at my front door, I knew we were going to have to walk to get to school on time.
We were all dressed for the weather. Rain coats and rain pants, umbrellas for each boy. I tried to remind L not to step in puddles since he wasn’t wearing his rain boots (we walked out the door thinking we were getting in the car and there wasn’t time to change shoes). We set off and we were all instantly wet. The umbrellas helped keep the boys drier than myself but they couldn’t see clearly from underneath them so that became a challenge. I told the boys I would watch where they were walking but they needed to keep walking so we could get to school as fast as possible.
Of course, I was missing the point of this adventure…but, kids don’t really let you miss the point for too long. They pointed out the incredible river flowing along the side of the streets we were walking next too. They laughed at the constant sound of the rain on their umbrellas. They asked 100′s of questions like “where do the birds go in the rain?”, “is it going to rain forever?”, “what doesn’t that person have a rain coat on?”.
We made it all the way to the school. We just had to cross the street with the help of the schools crossing guard and we could get out of the rain for a few moments. As we walked across the cross walk I realized there was a massive puddle with a moving current on either side. Water was just pouring down the street and it was wide enough to pose a significant obstacle for me who is trying to keep at least L’s feet dry. I asked L to wait while I helped C across first. L didn’t listen, he followed me but not exactly and both his feet sunk down into about 6 inches of water. His pants were wet, his shoes and socks were soaked…we didn’t make it.
At that point, I was just happy we made it to his school. The water was dripping off the cuffs of my jacket, my shoes were totally soaked, and now I knew I was going to have to walk all the way home after dropping L off at school and drive back with dry shoes and socks. I felt deflated but not mad. It was clear I couldn’t protect us from getting wet, really wet this morning. L wasn’t crying over his wet shoes, C wasn’t refusing to walk in the rain. Instead they were so happy and joyous about the adventure we had getting to school.
We got L settled at school and C and I walked home. It was still raining hard although now I had an umbrella so it didn’t feel so intense. On the way home we stopped to look at the water drainage canal that runs past our walk home. It was an impressive site and C was completely mesmerized by the moving water. We talked about all the different sized puddles, why water was running down the sides of the street and the walk felt great.
At one point on the walk back home C found his way under the umbrella that I was holding. He was apparently finished holding up his own umbrella. I looked down at his pink, perfectly chubby fingers sweetly wrapped around the handle on my umbrella and I wanted a picture of this moment. I wanted a picture so I could remember how happy he was right then. He never complained or whined about being wet or cold, he explored, looked curiously at his surroundings and I realized I was so proud of him in this moment. I was also so thankful I was able to let go of the rush and wilds of the morning and embrace getting wet right along with them.
We made it to L’s class to change out his shoes, he was happy to see us and thanked me for coming back. I just love these moments, they settle me and give me hope. They challenge me to stay focused on my boys over schedules, school bells, chores, my computer, my minds thoughts. When I do, I feel stress lift, burdens disappear, loneliness fade and happiness fills all the tiny spaces that felt so empty until that moment. It is so worth getting wet!