The past week has been a flurry of activity, swirling around us like a dust cloud. I haven’t been as faithful to our family walks and staying active, and I have generally felt bogged down, burdened with the weight of the world seemingly pressing down onto me. Despite the overcast day and cool temperatures, today I laced up my sneakers, dressed the kids, and slapped their seatbelts on without even thinking or second guessing it. We. were. just. going. to. go. right. now.
But I hadn’t even left the driveway when the sprinkles began.
I quickly ran back up to the door, grabbed the first blanket I could find, tossed it over their exposed legs, and went. These teeny sprinkles did not promise a full-on rain, and they would not keep us from some fresh air and change of scenery. “But, mommy? It’s waining?” Baby Dude called out to me.
I walked faster. “It’s just a little rain, Dude. It’s okay. We really need a walk, today, don’tcha think?”
“Yeah.” He agreed.
I walked faster than normal, paying special care to not to jostle the stroller too much, I brought not just a water bottle but a thermal coffee mug this time, and the coffee mug isn’t leak-proof. I rounded the corner a few blocks away, and the drops got heavier and more frequent. Not outright pouring, mind you, but enough to be troublesome and make me worry about what trouble was coming.
“It’s weally waining now, mommy.” Baby Dude stuck his arm out from the stroller.
“Yes, it’s okay, it’s not too bad. We’re still fine, dude.” I shhed him as I picked up the pace again.
Not but a few steps into my newly quickened pace did the phone ring. I jostled the keys to the side as I manhandled the phone to answer while trying to get it to my ear. “Hello!?”
It was my son’s principal. A call I’d been long waiting for to settle an issue I’d been having at school. A call that went quite oddly, considering I was fast-walking while pushing 80-something pounds of kid and metal stroller in the rain. I’m sure he didn’t understand my huffed responses and heavy breathing.
But once I heard the words “settled” and “emailed” and “okay,” I felt no longer ashamed of the deeper breaths I was taking, or of the wetness on my face making the phone slide about against my cheek. I was no longer concerned about making it home too quickly, nor was I concerned about, well, anything. I had it handled. I did it.
And the rain kept coming, but it would not stop me. Nothing will.
The truth of the matter is, regardless of wrong or right, it’s a parent’s job to advocate for their children. I learned long ago that sometimes we are our ONLY child’s advocate. If we won’t stand up for them, who will?
This momma bear went toe-to-toe this week manhandling folks who were upsetting her children, (and not just with the principal) and I would expect nothing less from any other parent I encountered in the same situation. If there’s someone out there who threatens you, your child, or your family in any way, physically or otherwise, it’s up to us as parents to handle it swiftly, with dignity, but as succinctly as possible. We have to stand our voices up tall and proud to tell the offender that they are wrong, and do this by any means necessary, all while teaching our children what is the right way to handle it, and how best to conduct themselves in the threat of adversity.
After all, no one messes with our kids. Ever. Friend or foe, stranger or relative, it doesn’t matter, you just don’t go there, or else. With a few muffled four-letter words gritted between my teeth for garnish, I will handle the situation like I manhandle the dishes, and wipe ’em out. I am their protector, and I take that job quite seriously.
In this day and age, with everything happening out there, it’s scarier out in the world than when we were young, and it’s up to us as parents, guardians, and caregivers to protect them, to teach them and to help shield them from the wrongdoers and show them how to handle it if we can’t. Truthfully. Honestly. With Honor.
And, most importantly, when the rain’s a comin’, it’s up to us to run back inside for a blanket, to keep them dry, and to hurry home if we’re caught in a sudden downpour.
Today I am grateful for the rain, because without it I would not know the beauty (and dryness) of home.