Friday, May 10, 2013

Rain Dances and the Sweetness of Doing Nothing

It happened right there in the school parking lot one recent spring afternoon.

I was caught doing the rain dance--getting down with my bad self to Rick James' "Superfreak".

I almost made a spectacle of myself--until ten other moms left their mini-vans and zealously joined in, shaking their collective booties.

From their heads down to their toenails.
A Superfreaky flash mob.

Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little--but we all wanted it to rain.  Badly.

Thunder, too. And while you're at it, Mother Nature, throw in some lightening for insurance.

Deluge, baby.  Right now. Pour like you mean it.

I need a night off.

Don't get me wrong--I love nothing more than to watch my sons play baseball on gorgeous spring evenings. I love watching them breathe deep before they get up, their taut faces scrunched with the determination to send one out into left field.  I love how they adjust their caps and shake the trapped clumps of dirt from the underside of their cleats.  Most of all, I love that they love the game--with all its metaphoric high and lows and strikeouts and homeruns. Unequivocally, one of the purest joys in my life.

But I need a night off.

And apparently so do many other parents.

On any given afternoon, so many of us find ourselves schelpping from one sport to another activity to an out-of-town birthday party to Staples to pick up posterboard for a project that's due tomorrow to a rescheduled playoff game to a batting lesson.  While you're at it, throw in the organic gourmet anti-oxidant rich dinner we are supposed to whip up and somehow choke it all down in the car in between stops.  Pull into a parking lot so that your youngest son can change into his baseball pants as he strips off his Tae-Kwon Do uniform.  Be at two fields at the same time and convince yourself that it's okay you missed your eldest's triple while you were en route to watch the middle child's pitching debut.  When you're at the game, you are making lists--mental lists--of all the line items you didn't get to cross off today. Picking up dry cleaning, putting away the half-folded laundry and dropping off those overdue library books will all have to wait until tomorrow.  An existential state of constant distraction and frenetic activity. Yet somehow, we wouldn't trade it for the world.

But busy is sometimes overrated.

There is a scene in the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" where Julia Roberts' character is reminded by an Italian of the idea he calls dolce fa niente.  Translation:  The sweetness of doing nothing.

Such a beautiful notion--where we savor moments and are achingly present in them.  Moments of leisurely dinners and unhurried conversations with our kids--and not having the persistent nudge to move onto the next line item on the long agenda.  The comfort of knowing that you're in for the night. The mental surrender to doing nothing scheduled.

An unmarked box on the calendar where a day unfolds itself can be a beautiful thing.

The cherry-blossomed spring days when our children play their hearts out are indeed exquisite gifts--but so are the torrential downpours.

Sometimes we all need the rain.
It's what makes us all thrive again.
Let it rain!  And when it does, here are some adorable wedge rain boots from Chinese Laundry!  I'd jump in puddles with these on my feet for sure.  

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