Last Summer during a torrential rain fall, I stood in the frame of our storm door in silence to listen to and understand the beauty of being present. Curious, my boys cautiously came and stood by my side.
“What are ya looking at Mom?” my oldest inquired.
He was afraid of thunderstorms, and hid behind me slightly anticipating a flash of lightning or a rumble of thunder. I wrapped my right arm around his shoulders and gently squeezed him into my side.
The rain bounced off the sun-bleached wood of our deck and patio furniture.
“The rain,” I answered grinning. “Look at how its dancing off the deck and leaping into the air!”
“It must really want to get back home, huh Mom,” my youngest stated.
I rubbed his head with my left hand.
“Maybe, bud.” I nodded.
I remembered a similar summer storm when I was sixteen.
I ran with a friend barefoot down Main street, splashing through puddles, laughing and singing at the top of our lungs, “We’re siiiiiiinging in the raaaaain. Just siiiiinging in the raaaain. . .”
The blinks and bleeps of the Mario Kart game zipped into the kitchen and woke me from my daydream. I hadn’t notice that my boys had retreated to the living room, or better yet, they retreated to a different room to live. I looked at their reflections in the window. Their heads bowed slightly as they played on their handheld game consoles. Neither would notice if I was gone for a few moments.
I opened the back door and stepped into the rain; the cool wet planks softened beneath my arches while the water poured over my toes and between the cracks. I spread my arms and raised my face to the rain to absorb its freshness and touch. I laughed and ran my fingers through my short hair as I my t-shirt and shorts stuck to my body. My heart exploded with energy as I joined the rain in its dance.
A knock on the window summoned my consciousness back to reality.
“Mom?” my oldest asked with a smile. “Um . . .what are you doing?”
I smiled and opened the door that led back into the dryness of the kitchen. I shook the water from my hair and rubbed my feet dry on the welcome mat. I wiped the excess water from my arms and legs with my bare fingers.
I touched my son’s cheek and whispered, “I needed that” as I moved towards my bed room to find some dry clothes all the while humming Gene Kelly’s rain anthem aloud.
My son crinkled his nose and became very serious.
“What if it had started to thunder and lightning out? That would have been dangerous, Mom!”
His generalized anxiety disorder flared during summer storms. I belted out from behind my closed bedroom door:
“What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart”
(lyrics by Gene Kelly, 1952)
I couldn’t remember the rest of the verse, and when I opened the door, my son stood with his hands on his ears and laughed, “I wish it would thunder a bit right now!”
I kissed his cheek then stuck out my tongue.
“Don’t ever be afraid to sing or dance in the rain, ever.”