Written By: Leslie Means
*Note* Oh young Kyle and Leslie – it feels like a lifetime has passed. I realize it was only 9 years ago but so much has changed; including my feelings about being in the rain. In the above pic, Kyle and I are splashing around with one of our friends during the summer of 2003. The arrows represent us. The one without the arrow is an old friend who probably isn’t pumped that his picture is now on this website. 😉
The summer of 2003 was, to date, my most memorable summer. During those three glorious, hot months I lived in Denver with a few of my closest friends; one of those friends eventually became my husband.
Many memories are etched into my mind from that year, but one in particular stands out above the rest.
The night we danced in the rain.
It wasn’t your typical “romantic” dance that you would remember from an old movie scene. Instead, it was one full of spontaneity, excitement and pure nonsense. As the water escaped from the sky above, we ran outside and splashed like kids. It wasn’t just the two of us but our entire group found ourselves outside laughing and playing until our limbs were numb from the cold.
I recall thinking how attractive Kyle looked that night with his hair soaked, running around without cause. We were engaged to be married by the following spring.
As a girl, I adored the rain. After each downpour you could find me searching under rocks for fishing worms and swimming in the nearby duck pond when Mom wasn’t looking. I splashed in puddles and simply enjoyed nature’s elements.
I loved the rain.
Last week, as the water fell for days on end, I couldn’t help but feel agitated and annoyed at the cold, muggy atmosphere. I worried the hail would damage my car and found myself inside as much as possible to avoid any chance of getting wet. Instead of letting my girls play in the rain, I made them stay indoors, as well, worried they would be cold and, frankly, make a mess of my home.
“Can I go outside and play, Mama?” Ella asked.
“Why would you want to play in the rain, Ella?” I responded. And, as usual, her comment opened my mind and softened my heart.
“Because it’s fun. I like the rain,” she replied.
And then, I remembered my summer, the summer when I, too, liked the rain; the impulsive moments when the dismal weather was an adventure, not a chore. Where did that time go? It had been nine years since I played in the rain. Nine years too long. I told myself next time the water fell, I would go outside and play.
The next day, it rained. As promised, I dusted off my old running shoes, found a heavy sweatshirt, prepared my music selection and stepped outside to enjoy a long run.
Ten minutes later, I stepped back inside.
Not one inch of my being wanted to run, let alone run in the cold, damp rain. I poured myself another cup of coffee, toasted a Pop Tart and enjoyed the scenery from the inside of my home.
“I gave it my best shot,” I thought to myself, and went about my day.
There was a time when I loved to play in the rain, and the precipitation has helped me make wonderful memories. But sometimes, it’s best to look back on those moments with fondness and instead allow my girls the opportunity to play in the rain and find their own dance.
From left to right, 21 year old Kyle, 21 year old Leslie and an old friend. 😉