Saturday, March 10

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

I am thinking about rain today. Which is really not a big shock considering our locale and the season. Before we moved to the Netherlands I remember reading through an “Everything about Holland” book Emma had borrowed from the public library. There was a section about the climate and a chart of annual rain measurements. I laughed out loud when I read about the more than thirty inches of precipitation annually. Having lived for eight years in Phoenix, Arizona in a dry-as-a-bone-hotter-that-Hades desert climate it was hard to get my mind around the idea of that much rain. I can now. I can also sing every rendition of the plethora of rain songs written, starting with the childhood classic “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” straight through to Milli Vanilli’s "Blame It On The Rain". This is my attempt to keep our hearts light when the skies are relentlessly gray. And we have definitively found that grey skies are the norm here. Yes, it rains a lot in Holland.

Andrew doesn’t really like the rain. No, let me rephrase that. He doesn’t like the rain AT NIGHT. During the daytime hours he romps in the rain and pulls on his
wellies so he can splash in the puddles. This is three-year old happiness at its finest. Daytime rain is not so bad. Nighttime rain is another story. If it’s raining at night my husband and I can generally count on a bedmate, sneaking under the covers within minutes of the first drops striking his window pane. And then there was the night of drama trauma when I responded to midnight cries on the third floor. I found Andrew standing stock still on top of his bed bellowing at the top of his lungs: “IT’S RAINING GUYS! GUYS! IT’S RAINING!”. He joined us in our bed that night too.

Andrew’s reaction to rainstorms reminds me of me. I have intense memories of a time when I was small; not much older than Andrew is now, during a thunderstorm of epic proportions. We were living in Salt Lake City, Utah and it was a summer storm. I remember grand flashes of light and tremendous rolls of thunder shocking and booming through the sky. I was terrified. I remember trembling, and crying big shoulder heaving sobs as I searched to find a spot where I could hide away from the chaos of the storm. My best option for refuge was to wrap myself into the full-length drapes hanging at the windows in the living room. Maybe if I couldn’t see it, I wouldn’t hear it and then I would be safe.

That’s where I was when my Daddy found me; curled up and shaking, tear streaks running across my cheeks. He pulled me out of my hiding place and asked me about my troubles. I am sure that what poured forth from my five-year-old self was succinct and poetic as I explained to my Pop the sheer terror I was feeling on account of Mother Nature’s outdoor demonstration. I can’t recount the actual conversation we shared but I can vividly recall the feelings of the day. My dad and I sat together there in the living room; my arms wrapped around his neck, and watched the storm. That was the day I learned about measuring the distance of lightning by counting the seconds between the strike and the thunder clap. Counting with him was a good distraction from the tears still, perched at the corners of my eyes, threatening to fall. I am sure we sat there counting for a good long time; or at least 15 minutes. And then, when the lighting and thunder show had ceased, and the rain was falling in earnest, my dad and I took a walk. A long walk in the rain together, hands joined. We walked in the rain, and we talked in the rain. Timid at first and then braver as the journey continued I remember being amazed by just almost everything I was seeing. And I remember getting wet. Very wet; as in drenched and dripping with rainwater. It was marvelous. I do wish I could call up any actual words he said to me as I have no doubts that they were perfect and profound as he talked to me about rain and life, teaching me things it would take me decades to fully understand. All I know is I felt strong and brave walking with my daddy that day and I was no longer afraid.
Not of the rain.
Not of anything.

Thanks Scribbit for the inspiration and the opportunity. Wishing you bright skies and sunny days too!


  1. Perhaps you need to take your little man on a night time stroll through the streets of the Hague? Sounds like your dad was a terrific role model for us all. Thanks so much for sharing and good luck!

  2. Beautifully writeen. I found you at Scribbit! Thanks for sharing...

  3. I thought you did a terrific job re-telling this story!!! Very touching.

  4. Gosh, thanks!

    Beautiful words this morning--I love rain.