The rain is just the rain.

One of Nico's favorite books, I am a Bunny

It has been raining a lot around here lately. We haven’t gone to the park in what seems like ages and the kids are getting cabin fever. More importantly though, I’ve been noticing my knee jerk response to the rain. I have been watching my utter aversion, my recoiling from it as I step out of the car and run to the other side to unstrap Nico from his car seat. I see how I try to work at lightning speed so that my hair doesn’t get wet, or how I can get snippy when one of the kids is being uncooperative and prolonging the extraction-from-the-car process. I watch myself run, baby on my hip, into the house.

And for the first time, I have been questioning this. Like WTF? Why am I so afraid of getting wet? Is it the mess? being cold? ruining my shoes? Is it simply the chaos of it? Or is this something I learned? Trained at a young age. Recoiling from the rain is my legacy. It is not even mine, just what I was taught over and over again. Rain = bad.

And so I have been asking myself, what if there is a different way to be in the rain? A different posture to take on. The first time I experienced this was visiting my friends in Hawaii. It rained every day, that luscious, tropical kind of rain. Rain that is wild and torrential, warm and exotic. I remember getting caught in a cloudburst and running, but this time gleefully, drenched, elated and alive. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

A friend of mine and his wife got rid of their car recently and have committed to cycling as their single mode of transport. They have one of those gorgeous Dutch bikes with the bucket on the front, big enough to carry all three of their kids. I marvel at their commitment to simplicity and they came to mind a lot during the relentless rain of the last week. Were they regretting their decision? Did it totally suck to have to load everyone onto a bicycle each wet morning?

As I drove Ben to school the other day, I passed by this friend. It was pouring and he was happily zipped up into a rain jacket, looking completely relaxed. His posture was one of total surrender. He looked vibrant. He looked alive.

And that’s when I got it. The rain is just the rain. And I have my response to it. It rains and I am bothered by it. Even afraid. But what am I afraid of? That I get wet? It doesn’t even make sense.

Then I started to notice all the joggers. They had their rain jackets and baseball caps on and they were running, happily, in the rain. Same thing, vibrant and alive. I felt a pang of jealousy, wishing I was a runner, someone who ran in the rain. Then I noticed Ben, getting out of the car and sticking out his tongue to catch the drops, asking me if we could go on a walk.

The rain is just the rain. And we have our response to it.

I called a friend and told her about my rain revelation. Turns out she had her own. “With the right tools,” she said, “It’s a total game changer!” She went on. “I have my 60’s white vinyl rain jacket, my hot little rain boots, and do you remember those clear bubble umbrellas we had as kids? You can see everything going on around you but you are safe in your little bubble! Total game changer.”

So let’s add that sometimes you just need the right tools.

I can’t help but wonder, Where else in my life am I doing this? Where else do I recoil from life when I could simply surrender? Is it in traffic? Is it when the kids hurl toys all over the house? Is it when everyone is being too loud? Is there a way I could surrender to even this? to grow my capacity for chaos? To consciously choose, to decide that messes are okay. That they are just messes.

Old habits die hard. Especially the ones we aren’t even conscious of. I find that with parenting I am consistently bumping up against these automatic ways of being that were passed onto me. They are usually bad news when I notice them, like oh no, I’m doing that thing! that thing my parents did that I hated so much! Ugh. They are not always pretty, but I’m hoping that by shedding a bit of light on them, I have some room to choose. To be different, to transform, to maybe even pass on a love of the rain.

31 Comments

  1. Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Love this, love this, love this.

    I had a similar rainy revelation last summer. It started pouring rain. I was sitting safe and comfortably under a covering. One of the people near me got up and walked out into the downpour. I wondered: what is she thinking? She’ll get soaked. Then I had another thought: she’s gonna get soaked, but she doesn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, what’s the big deal? So I followed her lead: I got up, walked out into the rain, and got wet. I was soaked to the skin, looking up into the sky and letting the rain fall into my mouth. After I’d been out there for a while, I turned around, went inside, dried myself off, and put something dry on. It was a bit of a mess, but it felt GREAT to get that wet on purpose. I happened to be at a monastery with lots of priests around, so that part was a little awkward, but we all survived. I was so happy I did it. So very happy.

    And I really wanna get one of those clear umbrellas.

    The key now, as you pointed out, is to figure out where else in my life I need to get the right tools and put them to use in dealing with rain, fear, housework, marriage, parenting, friendships, my mother and my mother-in-law, and whatever other things, people, and situations I need to deal with. I am also allowing myself to “get wet” sometimes, to make more messes, and to just let life happen without always trying to be so neat, clean, orderly, and dry all the time. It’s tough, but the lessons are well worth the effort.

  2. Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this post, Andrea. It came at exactly the right time. With spring in the air I did a ‘spring cleaning’ of my life and contemplating my reactions to bad situations was one of the things I ‘audited’. I love the idea of having the right tools/gear to deal with your problems!

  3. Viola
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes! I love being in the rain. At Cosimo’s preschool the kids go hiking every Wednesday, rain or shine. Last week it was pouring, and the kids had the best fun splashing in the puddles and climbing trees in Golden Gate park in their full rain gear. Being in the rain makes me feel more connected to nature, and watching the rain from a window makes me feel more connected to the people I’m with. Xoxo.

  4. Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    You seem to be on a writing streak…loving all your thoughtful, inspiring posts lately!!!

  5. Anna
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Such amazing timing – we’ve had a really wet summer and I often find myself doing the same. I’m coaching my son’s soccer team this season and yesterday afternoon it started raining.. I straight away said “ok, everyone get undercover!” I looked at this bunch of 6 yr olds, twirling, mouths open catching raindrops, laughing at each other, and thought dammit, they should be listening to me! Then, when I said it again, one of the little boys said “come on Anna, it’s not even that heavy”, and it was then that I questioned why I was feeling so annoyed. It came down to what others would think – would other parents be annoyed if their kids were wet, would they see it as me having no control, would they have heart failure at the idea of their wet kids messing up their cars. After I realised that, we kept training in the rain. I figured, if any of that happened, it was their loss – these kids were in a state of rainy bliss and they were sharing it with each other – it was more important that I didn’t take that away.

  6. Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Loved this! Hadn’t really thought about this reaction to the rain before, but it’s so true for me too!

  7. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I love this. I am so grumpy about rain, when really, with a little preparation and just accepting it, it’s no big deal. Going to try and adopt this attitude next time it rains here.

  8. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend who has lived in Germany and there, they say, “There is no bad weather. Only bad clothing.” It’s totally changed my perception of bad weather days. But you have made me realize that “bad weather” can be figurative too.

  9. Rebecca Straayer
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    this is lovely andrea, thank you!

  10. Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    YES!

  11. Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    oh my goodness, YES. i can’t believe i am reading this today after the past week of noticing the same thing about myself with rain and other things.
    i read recently that we have to turn our perceptions ‘over’ to air them out…..
    this post speaks perfectly to me.

  12. Posted March 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic post.

    I am the same way about rain.

    The interesting part is that our kids aren’t…just like your Ben, kids seem to love rain and puddles, etc.

    Let’s not pass on this fear/hate/dread of rain to them!

  13. Jennifer Hagedorn Dizon
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Surrendering!

  14. jen
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your bright life words in a rainy eve. I so appreciate the way you speak your truth and do your own precious work.
    I read your words when I am sick of banality, vanity and fear.
    YOU ROCK, LADY
    blessings on your blessings -

  15. Shosh
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely post. Thank you!

  16. Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “grow my capacity for chaos”…to allow, surrender, rest in the chaos? yes, how? one invitation for me has been to dance chaos (in the tradition of gabrielle roth’s 5rhythms and via our family’s 5-minute dance jam). let it all go in/through my body and hope that i can learn to do more of that in other parts of my life. thank you, andrea, for your courage to tell your edgewalking stories. grateful for them and you.

  17. Sarah Ford
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Had this revelation a couple of years ago. I have had dogs for a couple of years – the type that love going for walks in ALL weathers! One sunny afternoon there wasnt a cloud in the sky and an hour from home the rain came.

    The rain was so heavy it wasnt even worth trying to stand under a tree so we carried on. Got completely soaked in the ‘blowing raindrops off the end of your nose’ kind of way.

    No biggie – just got home, dried the dog off, stripped off all my clothes in the hallway so I didnt drip everywhere and had a fantastically hot shower and a steaming cup of tea – bliss!
    Sarah

  18. M
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of that old Scandanavian saying:
    “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”

  19. Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I saw this event and pictured you running it…http://thecolorrun.com/
    I don’t know you at all but can totally envision you being there….

  20. Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Ah. So awesome.

  21. Trish
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    you are right as rain….

  22. Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    p.s. Just saw this on Pinterest and thought of you!
    http://pinterest.com/pin/19210735880552699/

  23. Jenn
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    My rain dealing tool came in the form of a golden retriever puppy during a Western Massachusetts autumn. Staying inside with a puppy full of energy wasn’t an option, so I opted to love the rainy walks. We rarely saw anyone else on the trails in the rain, but when we did, I felt a kinship that isn’t there in the sun.

  24. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    The rain comes from heaven, and we are cleansed by it. Suddenly the meaning of baptism is clear to me:
    you can begin again, and we are saved every day.

    – Gary Young

  25. Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “The rain is just the rain” – so true! Although this year when we need it so much in NorCal perhaps it’s a little more special than ‘just’ rain … :)

    I have never minded it, and have never minded getting wet really. I have friends who absolutely abhor the rain to the point where they will cancel plans to go out if it’s raining – my mission is to get them to come on a rainy, windy walk with me sometime and get thoroughly soaked. For oh, how fun that is! Especially when there’s a hot cup of tea or chocolate awaiting you when you come back inside …

  26. Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Great. Post.

    I am off to ponder where I can change or rather surrender.

  27. Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    oh, i hope that ben got his walk in the rain! then…maybe one day there’ll be a rainbox!!
    wonderful post, as always…

  28. Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    rainbow, lol!!!! shoot, a rainbox would be cool for his magic tree….

  29. Teri
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite quotes by Roger Miller is “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
    which to me talks about how shifting our perceptions can allow more joy into our lives.

  30. Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful post! I live in the Pacific Northwest, so rain is something I’ve had to get used to. I don’t even carry an umbrella anymore, just wear a good raincoat with a hood. (When I was in the Midwest, we’d all be whipping out the umbrellas if it was merely sprinkling.) It’s liberating to not get caught up in it. Having a dog to walk is another way to get over the rain and embrace it… she doesn’t mind, so why do I?

    But that’s not your point – your point is about resistance and release, and it’s a fabulous awareness that I will be meditating on :-)

  31. Posted April 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I love this…and I LOVE THE RAIN!!!

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