Learning to Dance in the Rain

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Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain.  I stumbled across this saying a couple of years ago.  I’ve thought about it often when life’s challenges have me frustrated.   Will I ever learn to take my eyes off the storm? Is it really possible to learn to enjoy life when I’m in the middle of a storm?  A few months ago I bought a wall hanging with the saying on it.   It reminds that I need to enjoy life even in the midst of the challenges.  Even when it’s hard.  Even when things never seem to change.  Even when my heart wants it but my mind thinks it’s impossible.  I need to learn how to dance in the rain.

As I was sitting on the couch admiring my new piece of artwork I was reminded of a day from my childhood.  I was outside playing with my sisters.  It started raining and we ran to the shelter of the block barn that’s across from the house. Once we were safely under the shelter it started pouring. The rain was running down the metal roof and showering down upon the ground.  It was calling us to play in it.  So we did.  We laughed.  We danced.  We were having the time of our lives. And then it happened.

Mom came around the side of the house and yelled at us to come inside.  Really?  What’s the big deal about dancing in the rain?  We’re not fighting. We’re having fun.  We’re not pulling each others hair or scratching each other.   We’re actually being good.  And you want us to go in the house?  I just don’t get it.  Years later I brought up my memory of that day to my mom.  I told her I’d never understood why she ruined our fun that day. She filled me in on the detail that my childish mind failed to remember about that day.

Mom looked out the kitchen window and she saw her three little sweethearts dancing in the rain.  I’m sure she thought we were pretty cute.  But she came outside and ruined our fun because she could see something that we couldn’t see.  There was lightning behind the barn.  She made us come in the house because it was her job to keep us safe.  Dance in the rain unless Momma tells you not to.   Momma knows best.

It’s easy to dance in the rain when we’re a kid. We don’t have anything to worry about.  We don’t worry about the mud splashing up on our clothes. We don’t worry about the lightning.  We just dance because it’s fun.  But then we grow up.  We have bills to pay, food to cook, dishes to wash, and muddy clothes to spray and wash.  Life becomes complicated and downright hard.  If only this would happen then I could enjoy life. Or if only this hadn’t happened then I could enjoy life.

If I could only lose weight.  Then I would be happy.   

I am so sick of washing dishes.  Carol Brady was one lucky woman.  I wish I had an Alice around here to cook and clean for me. Then I wouldn’t have all this work to do.

I’ll enjoy life when my kids start acting right.

It would be easy to enjoy life if I didn’t have to deal with anxiety every day.  

I wish my house looked like her house.

I wish I had her life.  Must be nice.

I finally finished filling out the 65 pages of medical forms so that our girls can see a developmental pediatrician.  Parents of kids with special needs have so many more things to worry about (sigh).  Now I have a headache and I need to eat a bag of chocolate.

Why do our girls have to have sensory processing disorder?  The battle with the socks every morning is frustrating.  I wish they didn’t have to deal with so much stuff.   

I spend so much time every day answering the same questions over and over again.  It’s totally exhausting.

Life would be so much better if someone in this house could hear me when I’m talking to them.  (Then my husband says “Huh? What did you say?”And I roll my eyes and laugh because he’s just so stinking funny.)

I think all of us have times when we wish our life could be different.  But what if it’s never different?  Then what?  Do we just feel miserable and never enjoy our life?  I’m guilty of wanting my storms to just go away.  If it would quit raining then I could enjoy my life.  But what happens if it doesn’t rain? Things can’t grow without rain.  Like the dogwood trees that I love seeing bloom in the spring.  They wouldn’t grow if it never rained. The same is true for my life.  I won’t grow if my life is always easy and I never experience any rain or storms.  We grow during the storms.  We develop character during the storms.  We learn to never give up in the middle of a storm.   And our storms teach us to have compassion for people who are in the middle of their storm.

We had family over a few weeks ago to celebrate Mikayla and Hope’s 12th Birthday.  I was sitting in the living room with a few of our guests and the front door flew open.  Mikayla yelled “Mommy, Mommy.  Come outside.  It’s raining!!!!!”  We all laughed.  She was so excited.  You would’ve thought it was the first time she’d ever seen rain.  If you know Mikayla then you realize this was so much more than just a cute moment.  When Mikayla was little she was scared to death of rain.  If it started raining she would start crying and she wouldn’t let me out of her sight.  She would often go to sleep to escape the rain.  She did this for years.  But then all of a sudden in 2017 the front door flies open and my girl is now excited about rain. That storm in her life has passed.  And I’m thankful.

I jumped off the couch and I ran out the front door so fast that I forgot to put on my shoes.  Brett and the kids were flying a kite in the rain.  I stood barefoot on the front porch and I watched the kite for a few minutes.  Then I went back in the house to visit more with our family.  After everyone left I realized the mistake I’d made.  Why did I just stand on the porch and watch?  Why didn’t I grab some shoes and get out in the rain with my girls?  Am I ever going to learn to dance in the rain?  I missed that moment.  But hopefully I won’t miss the next one.

A few days ago I was tired and frustrated.  I was complaining about something and wishing that it would change.  My husband said “You just need to learn to dance in the rain.”  Well aren’t you cute.  I told him he was right.  Yes, I need to learn to dance in the rain.  I’m definitely a work in progress

A Stiff Neck and a Good Laugh

As I pulled up to the school to pick the girls up I immediately noticed that Hope’s neck was crooked.  What in the world happened?  She was fine when I put her on the school bus this morning.  At 8:40 she was in the nurse’s office with a compress on her neck.  She told them that mommy knew about her stiff neck.  And she was laughing about her head being crooked so they didn’t call me.  She told me her elbow hurt before she got on the bus. Elbow.  Neck.  Pretty much the same thing.

I could tell she was in a lot of pain.  She cringed as I helped her change her shirt.  I told Brett that I knew what it was but I couldn’t fix it.  He asked me what it was.  I told him that it’s called acute torticollis.  He seemed rather impressed with my knowledge and that I had just diagnosed our child.  Hey, I worked for a chiropractor 20 years ago.  I still remember stuff.

I called the chiropractor and made an appointment.  Brett took Hope to the appointment and I stayed home with Mikayla.  When he got home he said “You were right.  The doctor said it’s whatever that word was that you said it was.”  The doctor had massaged and stretched the muscles in her neck and she had handled it very well.  Her neck was still crooked.  It was going to take some time for her to return to normal.

That evening I went to my parent-teacher conference at Mikayla and Hope’s school.  As soon as I sat down their teacher asked me how Hope was.  I told her that Brett had taken her to the chiropractor but she was still about the same.  She said that the girls aide had put her hand on Hope’s shoulder when she was helping her with her work.  Hope looked up at her and said “Do it again and I’ll hit you!”  I laughed myself silly over that story.  And the aide and teacher had a good laugh over it too.

Now obviously I don’t want my girls hitting their aide.  But that isn’t really the point of this story.  There are a couple of huge successes wrapped up in Hope’s sentence.  First, she did an excellent job communicating her feelings.  I’ve spent years wondering what she was thinking and feeling.  At this exact moment in time there was no question what she was thinking or feeling.  She was feeling pain and she didn’t want to be touched. She clearly told those around her that they needed to not touch her.  The second success is that she showed self-control.  She didn’t swat the aide’s hand to let her know that she needed to not touch her.  She chose to use words and she kept her hands to herself.  This is great progress.  Now we just need to work on using nicer words.  “Please don’t touch me.  It hurts.” is more polite than “Do it again and I’ll hit you!”  It’s not as funny but it is polite.

Each little step of progress is important.  Each little step takes time.  Sometimes the little steps make us cry.  And sometimes they make us laugh.  I’m thankful for those moments of laughter.  I’m thankful for people who choose to laugh with me.  And I’m thankful for little girls who teach me that those seemingly small moments in life are actually big moments.