My husband, Ken, and I share the bulk of parenting pretty evenly, as we’re both stay-at-home creatives with flexible schedules. It’s a wonderful blessing to be home together, experiencing the joys of new parenthood in tandem, pausing throughout the day to marvel at new developments and catch each other’s eye as Bee plows through many small yet significant milestones. Yet sometimes, projects rear their heads and deadlines approach and we both need to clock in a few more hours in our home office. And on those days, we parent solo, switching on and off and working through naptimes, sometimes letting work spill into the weekend to make sure our projects are top notch and on time.
This past weekend was one of those times for Ken, as he’s been working on a big project for the past few months. And although weekends are generally reserved for family outings together, I offered to take Bee on an adventurous Mother/Daughter day so Ken could focus and plow through his task list. To be honest, I have such little experience taking Bee out by myself, I’m always a bit nervous. We’re an “all for one and one for all” type of family in this stage of our life, so you rarely see us in public without the other! But I really wanted to gift Ken some extra time for a productive afternoon, so Bee and I headed out on a random Saturday for an adventure-filled day.
And an adventure it was. We met a girlfriend for a playdate in her baby pool, both of our babies splashing about and gnawing on bath toys under a shady umbrella. We shared a picnic of blueberries and grapes (for the babies) and peanut butter sandwiches and pink lemonade (for the ladies), chatting about diapers and grandparents and life between face-wiping and bottle-offering and squished-blueberry-cleaning. And it was perfect.
The babies grew fussy for their naps, so I bid farewell to our friends and drove to a nearby art festival – Bee promptly falling asleep in the car. I parked and relaxed, closing my eyes and listening to the quiet background tunes in the car as Bee napped peacefully in the backseat. When she woke, we unpacked the stroller and weaved up and down the many aisles of the festival, people-watching and art-spotting and diving into various food stands for snacks and free smells. And then – the rain came.
There’s little I love more than a good thunderstorm, but a rainstorm that comes out of nowhere on a sunny day is pretty high on my list. There’s just something so beautiful about the reminder that life can throw curve balls and rainclouds, and watching the squeals of delight as kids splash and parents dart for cover is evidence that our outlook can always overcome our circumstance.
The various vendors closed their tents as we awaited the rain to pass, and a few local shops opened their doors for a jazz band to keep their instruments from soaking. Crowds gathered and huddled together under umbrellas and awnings and canopies, with sounds of jazz music filling our ears and hearts.
The rain lasted just under 10 minutes, and Bee and I sat mesmerized as the clouds rolled by and the sun emerged again. We shared a banana as we watched the crowd scatter back into the tented festival, like ants – here and there and everywhere. But for a moment, we were all together, waiting and observing. Hoping for the storm to pass, but also knowing that we were all witnessing something remarkable.
Parenting feels a lot like that for me. There are stormy moments of tantrums and lessons and anxiety, and we hope for them to pass quickly, leaving us soaked and exhausted, but not overcome. But all the while, there’s a voice from within that reminds us to enjoy the storm. It will pass quickly, and the sun will shine brighter as a result.
Our day ended with a visit to a favorite takeout restaurant to bring Ken a warm meal, and we arrived home just as he was finishing his project. As I headed to the nursery to change Bee for bed, I asked if he’d caught the thunderstorm earlier that evening. He did, he said, with a smile. “But I didn’t see the rainbow, even though I was sure there’d be one,” he said.
“Trust me,” I said, flipping off the hallway light. “It was there.”