31 July, 2012

A Little Rain Must Fall

I saw the piled boxes at the store, each one containing a pair of galoshes and a matching umbrella. I hate umbrellas. They just break, or the wind blows them the opposite way turning you into a flower bending in the wind, rain soaked and wilting. And when you've used an umbrella and arrived at your destination then you need to carry the umbrella around, or put it in some bucket at the door where it will most likely be stolen. They never seem to dry out, leaving wet marks on the seat in the car, or on the floor. Their drips of water make the entry way dangerous.

I remember liking umbrellas when I was little. Do you remember the clear ones that came all the way over your head and down to your shoulders, but you could still see? I always wanted one of those, and I'm not sure why I never got one.

So all of those things go through my head as I am standing there looking at cute fireman galoshes with red umbrellas, and black polka-dotted galoshes with a shiny matching polka-dotted umbrella. The pallet of items had just come in, but I know how these places work, and if you aren't there when the awesome thing comes through you are out of luck, so I stood there and decided what kind of mom I was going to be.

My daughter loves umbrellas, and galoshes. She loves matchy-matchy. She loves having the specific gear for an activity. She likes having things that are similar to the things her peers have. But all last year, I denied her having a stupid umbrella because I don't like them. I didn't see it as a necessary item for a 5 year old who never walks in the rain farther than the distance from the car to the classroom door, or our own back door. When I was in kindergarten I walked to school, but I still think I got a ride on rainy days. I did not see the point of starting some umbrella habit, when I could explain, and demonstrate the practicality of hats, which are both fashionable and functional, and can keep you warm and your head dry. I thought that her waterproof jacket and hat were plenty to get her through the misty mornings and occasional downpour.  So that's what we did last rainy season, we went by my rules.

And every chance that kid got she would borrow a friend's umbrella, even if it was just to walk across the playground, or five feet from her friend's coat hook to her own. I almost think that she was the only little girl who didn't have an umbrella of her own last year. Part of me was a bit smug thinking that I was raising this more practical and flexible child who knows that rain is just water, and it will dry. I thought that I had gotten away with something, and that my daughter was more mature having moved right on past that stage of little sets of things for girls that coordinate and fit for only one season.

Standing in the aisle of the giant store, air conditioning blasting, the rainy season more than four months away I thought differently; no longer feeling like I wanted to be practical. Instead I really, really, wanted to give her what she wanted, a matching umbrella and rain boots, because she is growing up so fast, and really, how many years are there left when she will want to look all that cute and buttoned-up, and so over protected from drizzle. I got a bit choked up thinking about how many things she just will never do again, which leads me right to the fact that we aren't having any more kids, so not only is it my daughter's last few years of this preciousness, but the last of mine too.

I vowed to have more patience. I promised to enjoy those things that she needs help with, like getting in and out of the Jeep, or putting on her bike helmet. I thought about doubling up on the singing at night, and reading one more book, every time she asks. I decided to buy her those little boots with the matching umbrella because she would love them, and I would get to have a sweet little girl for at least one more rainy season.

Scanning the boxes, I smiled, thinking how big her feet are already at a size 2.

Then a part of me was crushed-in, maybe forever, as I painfully realized that the boots only go up to size 1.

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