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May
17
2008

By Daphne Biener

“Mom, it’s raining.”

“Yes, it is.” Typically we don’t get much rain, but sure enough buckets of the cold heavy stuff arrived just in time to pound my newbie garden sprouts to a pulp.

“Mom, I need an umbrella to bring to school. What if we go out for recess?”

“You’re not going out for recess in the rain. And no, you can’t have your own umbrella.”

“Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?”

Because it’s dangerous. Because you’ll poke out an eye. Because you’ll joust and stab each other. You’ll flip it upside down and race Katie and Nicky down a gutter engorged and raging in a springtime Minneapolis downpour. Oops, wait a second. Wrong generation. That was me and my brother and my mother’s (in retrospect) spot-on argument against umbrella-wielding children.

No wonder I’ve got a headache. I’ve slipped into hangover parenting.

Typically I’m a rational gal. I take this parenting stuff seriously, and for the most part I base my wildly unpopular decisions on a comprehensive analysis of all the facts before me.

Except when I don’t. It seems that some decisions come straight from a darker, more primeval place. One that doesn’t analyze or negotiate and that frankly doesn’t make much sense. Which is how it came to pass that my uber-responsible, dripping wet first-grader boarded her school bus sans-umbrella.

Speaking of dripping wet, tomorrow are try-outs for the town swim team. At the outdoor pool. May in Colorado, so we should expect pretty much anything from Mother Nature. Anything, that is, except for sunshiny warmth when we need it. Predictions call for a steady 50 degree drizzle. Should be lovely.

Tomorrow’s snow-sprints aside, there’s a decent (as in large, not as in good human being) part of me that’s looking forward to forcing my kids into frigid pools this summer. It’s crazy, I know. Irrational that after spending a large slice of life begging these kids into hats and gloves and warmer outfits, I’m now eagerly anticipating brisk mornings of peeling back their sweatsuits for swimsuits. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t buy into it that character-building nonsense; this is hangover parenting at its best.

You see, somehow the passage of years has transformed my own forced march from a cozy cabin into the icy waters of a slimy-bottomed camp lake into something kind of sweet. A universal right-of-passage. A frozen popsicle of idealized childhood. Something I now gaze fondly back upon and wish to share with my own precious children.

Like whipping up a batch of homemade cookies together and letting them lick sticky batter off the beaters. Now that I think of it, that’s the perfect thing for such a dreary day. We’re definitely making cookies.

As soon as they finish their laps and come in out of the rain, that is.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.


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