“Can I wear my boots, Mama, just in case it rains?”
I peek out the window at the clear blue sky, at the warmth of a perfect fall day. I turn to her, about to tell her that there won’t be rain today, but as I look at her upturned face, her expectant grin, her shining eyes, I don’t have the heart to dash her hopes. What harm is there, after all, in boots in dry weather?
“Sure, sweetheart. Go for it.”
Her sister follows her lead, of course, trundling out to me with boots in hand. Abby has no memory of splashing in puddles or playing in the rain last season, but no matter: if Katie is doing something, anything at all, she wants to be doing it too.
Clattering and babbling, Abby’s stance wide to accommodate the awkwardness of her slightly-too-big footwear, they trip their way out. When I follow a few minutes later, they are already down by the gate, at the place where a series of craters in the gravel driveway fill, forming perfect puddles. I call down to them, asking what they’re up to.
“Waiting for the rain, Mama! So we can splash in the puddles.”
She says this as though my question is silly, as though the answer should be self-evident.
I should have seen this coming: rain has been a frequent topic of conversation the past few weeks. With the days growing shorter and the temperatures dipping lower, we’ve turned our faces to the sky, hoping for the clouds to come, for a good drenching storm to put an end to fire season and, more importantly in the minds of two small girls, to provide the fun of puddles. I’ve tried to warn Katie, to temper her excitement with a bit of reality. The first few storms will probably be light, I tell her. The dry ground will soak up the water. The puddles might not come for a while, yet. She acknowledges my words, nodding impatiently, but still, her hope burns bright. This morning, she heard that there was rain in the forecast. The day (tomorrow) and the amount (scattered showers), didn’t matter: it was time to wear her boots and wait.
I sit at the edge of the driveway. I can hear Katie explaining things to her little sister, and I sneak a glance at them over the edge of my book.
“When it rains, Abby, these holes fill up with water, and we can jump and splash in them.” She jumps in demonstration, and Abby follows suit. “And after that, we’ll be really wet and cold, so we’ll go inside and have hot chocolate.” Abby chimes in – “That yummy!” – and Katie nods knowingly. “Yes. But first, it has to rain.” Two small heads tilt back in unison to look up at the sky.
I look up too, squinting into the bright sunlight, wincing as I anticipate their disappointment. But the girls are unfazed by the cloudless sky. They drop their gazes back to earth, chattering away as they wander in circles, waiting for a rain that will not come today.
Five minutes later, they’re running toward me, laughing as they chase each other up the hill. Katie disappears inside and returns with two buckets, which they fill with odds and ends: leaves, sticks, rocks, dirt, whatever they can find. They lug their treasures to the water spigot, then bring their messy concoctions back to me. “Want to try some delicious soup, Mama?”
The empty puddles lie forgotten as they lose themselves in play.
Tomorrow (and the next day, and the next) they’ll hope, again, for rain. They’ll don their boots and wait, watching the sky, and, eventually, the clouds will come. Eventually – next week, perhaps, or next month, an eternity to a young mind – the puddles will fill, and they will stomp to their hearts’ content. Their hope will be met.
But for now, for today, it is enough to be in the sunshine with one’s sister, to bask in the smiles of one’s mother, to experience the joy of being together.
For now, for today, they have enough.
After a long (too long) hiatus, I’m finally heeding the small voice nudging me to write again. Forming the habit of stringing words together takes time and effort and energy – all of which tend to be in short supply these days – and there are a thousand reasons why attempting to resurrect my blog now, in this season, doesn’t make much sense. But I’m taking a cue from my girls, hoping for the good to come, and trusting that, in the meantime, what I have is enough.