Getting Wet

This post is part of The Write On Project
Topic: Rain

The kids were going bat-shit crazy. Evasive action had to be taken. The fate and collective sanity of our nation of four was at stake. The tipping point was upon us and if utter chaos was to be avoided some tough choices would have to be made. Without a grand distraction we could have a full blown mutiny on our hands. The walls squeezed in and it was clear there was only one solution – we needed to get the hell outside.

But it was raining. Hard.

Shit.

We can’t take the kids out in the rain. That just doesn’t seem like a good idea. They could get sick. What shoes would they wear? Can we all fit under the umbrella? What about the wind? Where’s Lemon’s blue windbreaker thingee? Did Bug just sniffle?

Shit.

I mean, they could get wet out there.

It was then that the sage wisdom of my wife averted what could have been an historical descent into anarchy, complete with lots of pouting and screaming, some of which the kids would have even been responsible for. She quietly looked out the window and said “so?”

But…. we’re their parents. We’re supposed to be responsible or something. We’re supposed to be making good choices. That doesn’t seem like a good choice. Seriously, they’re going to get wet. Like, really, really wet. All over.

Again, “so?”

They’ll dry. It isn’t too cold. They’ve got rain boots. We won’t be gone long. It’s just rain. They’ll have fun. We live in Florida, for chrissakes – it’s just rain.

Huh. So, indeed.

I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person. And, for the most part, I probably am, but it’s funny how so often there is a disparity between how we would like to be and how we honestly are. I would like to think that I wouldn’t worry about things, that I would lead the charge into the rain. I would like to think that I would get all Fred Astaire-y with a seamlessly choreographed number through the puddles inspiring boundless joy in my children and a Beatlemania-esque rabidity among the neighborhood throngs. I would like to think that I am just carefree, but that wouldn’t be the truth.

I do worry about stuff – just as we all do. I make things into a big friggin’ deal when that just isn’t necessary. And, as much as I hate to say it, I have avoided doing certain things with my girls because it might have been a hassle or challenging or messy or “not a good choice”, like my initial reaction to a walk in the rain.

I would like to be carefree and adventurous because I would like to pass that perspective on to my girls. Instead of speaking of freedom that day, though, my hesitations and self-limiting actions communicated fear, really, misplaced as it may have been. But the girls didn’t know it was unfounded, all they saw was their father being dictated to by circumstance and consequence. The fact that I hesitated at all made any wariness of that situation valid to them and suddenly avoidance becomes a suitable strategy for dealing with things. They see me guided by fear and fear becomes a legitimate guide. That is not good.

What’s worse – taking them out in the rain or teaching them to be fearful and hesitant?

With that, the three of us plus dog followed Mom the Great Liberator out into the rain. We splashed and ran and laughed. The girls thought it was the greatest thing ever. So did I.

We did get wet. All over. And it was just fine.

I love little lessons like these. I love the growth that is possible with just a little honest perspective. There are certainly things that we need to protect our kids from or teach them to be cautious of. That is part of our job as parents. More important than what we teach them to avoid, though, as I learned on that soggy day, is what we teach them to embrace. Life is about experiences. Life is not about waiting for conditions to be ideal because they never will. Life is about getting out into the rain. So what if you get a little wet.

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About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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20 Responses to Getting Wet

  1. I am enjoying all of your writings. This one is so true. What beautiful insight you have. I feel proud to be related to such a good (fine) man. Love, Markay

  2. Meka says:

    Thank you for saying that out loud. You have summed up my thoughts exactly. I would go out and play in the rain without a second thought…..add my kids to the mix and there would be some hesitation. Although I have been known to tell them to see how many rain drops they can catch on their tongue! (yes mostly for my own amusement!) I want my kids to enjoy the moments not be afraid of the “what ifs” . I firmly believe you can’t live by the “what ifs”. Somehow when it comes to the boys I become Sybil… Some other Meka comes out and is so full of worry.

    Hmm…Thank you for this post. Thank you for giving me something to swirl around in my brain for the day.I needed the reminder. Mostly I am so gald you all had fun in the rain. When you decide to do you Fred Astaire number….please video:)

    • Meka says:

      I tried to quote a section from above, but seems I am not so blog savy. Insert this in teh beginning of my post…”I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person. And, for the most part, I probably am, but it’s funny how so often there is a disparity between how we would like to be and how we honestly are”.

    • Without kids I tended to opt for the ‘not such a good choice’ with regularity – make me responsible for little people and I get all hesitant and, well, responsible. It’s actually kind of annoying. I don’t want them to do all of the stupid things I have, but I really don’t want them to shy away from great possibilities, risky as they sometimes may be. Granted, a walk in the rain is not cracking the top 100 list of risky things to do, but it serves the point well.

      You bring the camera the next time it rains and I will OWN this block. I’m ready. Wait a sec…….(1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4)….yep, I’m ready.

  3. Dalite says:

    Yes, good post. Our little people need some freedom….from the blah’s of daily life, from themselves, and most of the time, from the uptight parent! Try coming to Vermont, we’re getting hit with 10-20 inches of snow today! I think we’re going outside! 🙂

  4. Mateo says:

    Man, I really wish parents would truly understand the importance all types of experiences (playing in the rain) are and see it from a child’s perspective. What do we really teach when we constantly tell them, this or that can’t be done because, the sun and moon don’t happen to be in perfect alignment. Every experience is a chance for our children to learn and challenge what they already believe. Great post will be looking through your site as soon as time permits!

    • Well said, sir. “Every experience is a chance for our children to learn and challenge what they already believe.” I’m going to work hard to remember that line every single day.

      Thanks, Mateo.

  5. J i m S says:

    Great reminder my man.

    We’ve had a few epic rain walks this winter. Caleb came home from the last one holding 6 worms … some of which were still alive, that he had collected from the gutter. I had to bite my concerned parent lip hard to not discourage him from fishing lifeless worms out of the gutter — and it was awesome. (I did, however, insist he wash his hands before we warmed up and ate popcorn.)

  6. Jared Karol says:

    Thanks for the lesson, Mitch. I do the exact same things, no matter how much of a laid back person I claim myself to be. Next time it’s raining, we’re going for it!

  7. mudly says:

    I STILL go puddle jumping 🙂

  8. Marge Dean says:

    I loved reading this, Mitch. Glad you just went out and HAD FUN!!!! Gene Kelley would have been proud of you!!!

    • Thank you very much, Dr. Dean. I really appreciate you taking the time to read (and comment).

      Someday I should write about an impudent little kid who thought he had it all figured out. 🙂

      • Marge Dean says:

        Sounds to me like you already DO have it all figured out! I’ll try to visit your blog postings from time to time and maybe I can learn from you how to figure it all out for myself!!!

      • HA! About the only thing I have firmly figured out is that I don’t have anything figured out. Though I figure I’ll keep trying.

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