We were in the kitchen and I was cleaning up after dinner. Actually, just about any story of mine can start that way because I spend a lot of my day cleaning up after some meal or snack. This was dinner, though, and it’s one of the more involved cleaning processes. I had to wipe down the table and high chairs, sweep the floors, and get all the dishes from the day loaded into the washer. My kids are pretty used to this. I call it the bedtime train. It starts at dinner time and it doesn’t stop until goodnight kisses. We have a rhythm. It’s efficient.
Then it began to rain. Daniel asked for his umbrella and Lila went to get hers. They stood out there in wonder. Then the rain picked up. It was warm and loud and heavy. Even I had the urge to just run out there and feel it, but the kids stayed put. I yelled out to the kids through the screen, my hands bubbly with dishwater, “Leave the umbrellas! Leave the boots! Just go play!”
Hesitation. Worry. Restraint.
What? Come on kids, go be kids! Even with my permission, they couldn’t let go. Were they afraid to get messy? Did they think they’d get in trouble?
In everything you do, you teach.
I realized that I couldn’t tell them to go be free while I stayed stuck in my routine and efficiency. This is something I needed to do alongside them. So, I turned off the water, ran out the back door, and didn’t stop until I heard them squealing with laughter behind me.
We stayed out there, chasing each other around, soaked to the bones with wild smiles. I kept catching them gauging my response, watching, taking notes. So, I made sure to throw my hands and head to the sky and try to taste the rain.
When I looked back down, they were doing the same.