Rain, rain if you’re here to stay… entice my kids to go out to play. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Rain, rain if you’re here to stay… entice my kids to go out to play. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson column: The trouble with (and blessings of) rainy days

When I was a kid rainy days were awesome

By the time you read this, the most recent one of the many rain warnings for east Vancouver Island this season will have come and gone but something tells me it’ll still be raining.

I really do love those days it pours rain all weekend and you stay inside by the fire or all cozied up on the couch with a blanket and some tea, watching HGTV on Saturdays and NFL football on Sundays.

Well, I did love those days.

Then I had kids.

When I was a kid rainy days were awesome. I never remember having a proper rain coat or boots or an umbrella for that matter but my mom took care of us well so I can only imagine we had what we needed and I’m just forgetting.

Our favourite thing to do on the rainy weekend days was go back to school to play on the school grounds. I grew up in Delta and the one thing about the part of Delta we lived in was that it’s technically below sea level. So, when the heavy rains came, the school field turned into a soggy mess and part of the teacher’s parking lot and drop-off area in front of the school flooded with a good five or six inches of water.

We’d ride our bikes through the water and splash all day long, you know — until the street lights came on — and then we’d go home and have a hot bath and some dinner and do it all again the next day.

If we weren’t riding bikes, we loved to get our cleats on and have ‘sliding practice’ on the swampy school field, which was essentially just an excuse to get muddy and really had very little at all to do with refining our techniques sliding into second base or home plate. We wanted to see who could slide the farthest and who got the dirtiest; you know, kid stuff.

When my sister and I would get home, my mom would shepherd our muddy and shivering bodies into the garage before closing the big door behind us.

We weren’t permitted inside the actual house until we’d stripped down to our skivvies and put our wet stuff directly into the washing machine on the way up to the bath. My mom hadn’t spent the day cleaning just for us to make a mess of the place again after all.

Those are the kinds of memories I remember about my youth — being old enough to go with the neighbourhood kids and play within a few block radius of the house with no supervision, but being young enough to still want to play in the rain.

To this day, I love a good walk or run in the rain. (I’m learning it’s not as fun being a soccer mom in the rain as it was to be a soccer player, but that’s a different story.)

I believe my children, however, choose to use the rain as a tool in their plot to slowly but surly wear my patience down to the point where I give up and let them run the entire household.

“Go outside and play!” I’ll tell them. “It’s fun to play in the rain!”

But it’s too cold. It’s too wet. Their umbrella is broken. Their hood won’t stay up. Their boots don’t feel right. They’ve got nobody to play with. They’d rather watch some type of screen or play with some random but likely messy inside toy.

Lord help me if they want to build a fort.

Not wanting to go out and play in the rain, for them, means they feel entitled to stay indoors and demand their parents play with them and make a gigantic mess in the process. They’ll decide it’s a good day to bring out the wooden train set and put it under the fort, which took every couch cushion and pillow known to man to build and which we all know is actually really being held up by all four dining chairs they’ve recruited, as well as the blanket that has been closed into the microwave of the toy kitchen they dragged across the living room to act as a wall.

No wonder my mom encouraged us to go outside!

That being said, for me it’s pure joy to see my children enjoying puddles after the rain. My son in particular can’t walk by one without either jumping in it, or trying to jump over it. It used to annoy me. He was forever making us wait when we were out for family walks but then I thought to myself, where else would I rather be? What else would I rather be doing?

The rain is kind of like life in a way. We can either get bogged down by all the annoyances it generates, or we can pick out the good parts and focus on those. Sure it’s super soggy and a generally crummy mess, but it’s also refreshing, hydrating, and can offer hours of fun — but only if you’re willing to see it that way.


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ColumnistComedy and Humour