It’s been raining a lot in NYC for the past couple of weeks. This has caused me to get somewhat creative in the things I do with the boys do during the day. Luckily there is always something going on at the different public libraries throughout the city. I tend to venture to other neighborhoods just for a change in scenery, at times the just go to the bookstore, or museums. But with all the rain, it seems that all those activities inside aren’t enough to get rid of the desire to do things outside. So, more than once, I had settled with just getting wet.
Today was such a day. The forecast promised rained, and it had already been drizzling on and off. I had an event at the ever fun-tastic Apple seeds and was excited to take the kids with me.
They had a great time at Apple seeds, the play area is big, and colorful, and tons of fun. The boys were the last to be picked up from the reserved play area they had for the event, and it took me a little while to get them out. Eventually, I got them out by taking them through the gift shop and getting them little toys to play with. I rushed out, realizing way too late that I had left the 2.5 year old’s shoes behind. It started to drizzle, but as we were about to enter the train station someone told us that the uptown trains weren’t working. At that point the rain started coming down, hard. I started getting frustrated, but then I looked down at my boys, and neither of them cared. They were so distracted by the little toys that the heavy rain had no effect on them at all.
So, I took a deep breath and headed over to Madison Square Park, to walk around, in the rain, and take some pictures while the boys played and splashed around in the puddles. People hurrying by stared, some smiling watching us as the boys laughed at the joy of getting wet. My 3.5 year even sat down next to a lady who had an umbrella and tried to encourage her to come out from underneath it and join him in play. (She gently refused).
It was great to walk through the uncrowded park, and I did see that there would a few people who also didn’t mind being in the rain at all, these were the happy souls standing on the very, very short line in front of the often ridiculously busy Shake Shack (shame, had I planned it better, I wouldn’t have eaten so much at beforehand). As a matter of fact, I’ve never had a shake from this location, even though it is the original, because the lines are always so long! Thank goodness for Shake Shack on Columbus Ave!
We also took some time to sit down for a bit and watch the people working around the stage that had been set up for Madison Square Music, which are concerts that happen every Wednesday night till August 5th (I can’t wait to see The Jimmies on June 30 as part of Kid Fest). It seemed for a moment as if it weren’t raining at all, there was a quietness brought from the rain, which inspired me to close my eyes and enjoy it.
I have always loved getting caught in the rain. When I was very, very young I lived with an aunt in the poor rural countryside of Puerto Rico. We lived in a cinder block home, with no running water, dirt floors, and a tin roof. My aunt would bring in water and pour it into a bathing tin and this is where my sister and I would bathe. But when it rained, we would both go out and “shower” with the water pouring out of the drainage pipe my aunt had installed for such occasions or just by standing in our muddy garden letting the rain pour on me. I remember these times as being some of the happiest from my childhood. As a teenager then living in a troubled home in the Dominican Republic, I would escape to the roof of my father’s home when it rained and I would lift up my face and close my eyes, imagining the rain was washing away this sad, lonely existence and allow a better one to surface. It was in those instances, at that time, when I felt most at peace.
Sitting there in Madison Square Park, letting the rain soak me, my children, and all we carried with us, it seemed those years were someone else’s life rather than my own past, but yet the rain, and seeing the joy in my children’s faces as they played in it reminded me of both the poor little girl in PR, and the sad teenager in DR, who found freedom and refuge in the cool drops that fell from the sky, and though I know that that life is nothing like what my children have experienced in theirs, I was glad to see that they were, like me, able to really appreciate and enjoy it.
As the heavy rain starting becoming a soft drizzle, we got up and started making our way back home, dripping wet, with squeaky shoes (those who had any), and a big smile on our faces talking about what fun all that was.