When I was a kid, we lived in a house that was about half the size of the one I live in now. On rainy days like today, when we’re all in each other’s way, I wonder how my parents managed to not kill us.
One of my most vivid memories from that time was when my mom informed me and my brother that we were going to have a “rain picnic.” She dressed us in our raincoats and boots, packed a couple PB&Js, a baggie of trail mix (probably with carob chips, which are a crime against humanity), and some bananas in a little backpack, and sent us out to find a place to picnic. I remember that we climbed on top of a boulder in the forest and sat on it with our umbrellas propped against our necks, while we listened to the rain fall on the leaves. I don’t remember how long we were out there–almost certainly not long enough for my mother–but I remember it being fun. It was one of those just-once things, though. I tried a few different times later to recreate the feeling of that rain picnic, but it was never quite the same.
Today, we were climbing the walls. It’s raining again, rain on rain on rain here. The river is full. The ground can’t absorb any more. And the kids were picking at each other and driving me nuts. I didn’t send them out for a picnic, but I did demand that they go for a walk with me. It seemed to help their mood, at least for a little bit. Some fresh air, the challenge of picking mulberries while holding an umbrella and a toy panda, the wet seeping up their pants legs, the landscape transformed by water.