I’m sure I must look crazy, with my pants rolled up to just below my knees, my glasses spattered with raindrops, my shirt splashed with both mud and water. If you’re going to make a fool of yourself, you might as well do it during rush hour traffic, right?
I guess maybe this isn’t the way most of us would choose to spend our wedding anniversary. But sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. The eight-year-old sneaks up behind me and kicks water at my back. I whirl around and aim a splash that hits him square in the face. He runs away laughing.
The two-year-old has fallen twice in puddles. Her soaked pants refuse to stay up, and her diaper is waterlogged. But she laughs as she romps back and forth, back and forth, reveling in the pure joy of the moment.
Someone driving by honks and gives me a thumbs up. The neighbor kids are in their driveway, watching us, probably thinking I’ve gone crazy. You can’t always be the cool mom, because sometimes you have to be the mean mom who insists that lower case b face the right and that 4+4 does not equal seven and that stuffing everything under the bed is not the same thing is cleaning your room.
But every now and then, you can take your kids by surprise and herd them outside in the rain and the puddles and invent splashing games and laugh at the feel of the water on your face and the mud between your toes, and you can ooh and ahh over how high your six-year-old can make the water go when he jumps in it, and you can know that they’ll probably forget the fight over piano practice and they might never remember that it was so very difficult to remember how to pronounce “mechanism,” but they’ll never forget the day that you took them out and danced with them in the rain.