I am a planner. I’m very logistical. You know that mom who always seem to be calm? She stands on the playground watching her 18-month old roll in the sandbox and smiles at how cute he is. (Meanwhile I’m about to hyperventilate calculating how long it’s going to take her to get sand out of her car, the clothes and anything else he breathes near.) You know her. Maybe you are her.
I’m not that mom.
That doesn’t mean I’m not up for being carefree and fun. I love that, too. That’s why I call myself an “organized free-spirit.” Both of those things usually operate side-by-side in harmony in my head. Keyword: usually. Usually I am one or the other. Usually I am working OR playing. I am writing OR dominating at Candy Land. I am in impromptu mode OR strategic mode. Usually I switch pretty seamlessly from one to the other.
But then it rains.
And all hell breaks lose.
So let me go back…
Brynna went to her grandparents’ house for spring break last week, and I was in Dallas Monday-Thursday working on some writing projects. When I returned, I spent all day Friday cramming a weeks’ worth of “stuff” into 8 hours. You know…birthday stuff. Party favors, cookies, food, where will things go, what all the kids will do. Stuff. This would have been a walk in the park if it had been any other year. Every other year Brynna’s birthday has been inside – at home or a gymnastics gym. This year, though, I had to get tricky and have a bounce house. Outside.
While doing all that running Friday, I checked the weather app on my phone approximately 1,796 times. And do you know what that app had the nerve to tell me? Rain. Every time I checked.
When it started sprinkling Saturday morning, David assured me the showers were isolated and this was probably the end. (God bless him for trying. I’m sure he could see the panic visibly manifesting on my face.) A mom called to see if we were still planning on the party, and I calmly joked and said, “the bounce house is here. It may just be a water slide!” We laughed, ha ha! and she hung up. (All an act. I should win an Academy Award. Cue me silently freaking out in my head.)
When the rain started about 10 minutes before party time, my mom and Janay went in to “control the crazy” mode. (The crazy being me. Praise God for family who know you best and love you still.) My mom said it was no biggie, we would just bring the food in to the kitchen. Janay said there was plenty we could do with the kids inside, so I gathered up a stack of puzzles. As people started arriving, Janay took umbrellas while I greeted people. A couple of boys arrived first, so they went out to play hockey with Brynna and her dad in the garage. As more people arrived, they headed to the garage, too. I thought it had to be getting crowded and wondered what they could all be doing out there.
I walked outside to find a garage full of adults laughing at a bounce house full of soaking wet kids. Did you know that water pools at the end of a bounce house slide? Did you know if you slide down into the puddle, you make a “really cool splash”? Me neither. But I do now.
Those kids jumped for hours. And those parents were the sweetest things ever. After a couple of hours and lots of sugar, they carried their little soaked people to the car, smiling as the kids talked about how fun the water slide was. Not one of them complained. Even the family headed to another party simply asked where the nearest kids’ store was to go buy a change of clothes for their deliriously happy 4 year old.
The rain was not my plan. At all. I would much rather report that it was a fun, sunny day and I took lots of pictures of happy faces. Instead, I spent the day laughing with parents about how much fun the kids were having playing in the rain. I dried off little feet and cheered for the on-going hockey game in the back half of the garage. In what has become Brynna’s tradition, I handed out cookies and watched them all blow out their candles. (She loves to blow out candles, so in her mind, it stands to reason her friends do to. Makes perfect sense to me.)
The rain wasn’t my plan. I didn’t have time to mentally prepare myself for “impromptu” mode but I guess that’s kind of the point. (literally…that’s the definition of impromptu)
I only have 3 pictures from Brynna’s 5th birthday party. But I have memories that can’t be replaced. And I had the happiest little girl on the block as she bounced and played with her friends in the rain. And while I still don’t like being outside in the rain, I’ll never forget the day I said “oh, forget it.”
|The only thing more fun than bouncing in the rain is frosting on your face!|