The rain was falling hard. Last week I excitedly picked up my four year old school boy child from his minder. The door opened, I saw his pocket sized face and all the work day’s crap melted away. “Come on darling!” I said “Now put on your coat, it’s really raining outside.” And it was – great big pelts of angry water thudding on top of my yellow mac.
“I’m going your way, I’ll give you a lift” the lady said. “No, no, that’s fine” I argued. ”
I insist” she squealed, half watching the rain wondering why I wouldn’t take her up on her kind rescue.
“No, really, no thanks.” I said seriously, and I led my son towards our special short cut in his matching yellow mac.
She is a lovely, kind lady. She’s a life saver. But I wasn’t going to let her take the walk in the rain with my son away from me.
What she can’t understand is what that walk means to me.
I work hours that mean I can’t take him to school, I can’t even pick him up from school – but I can pick him up from a childminder and walk home with him, whatever the weather.
This isn’t just a walk. This is when I have my precious boy all to myself, his attention purely on me. It’s a time I get to hear what he did at school, which is, granted, only usually ever “I can’t remember,” but that still matters.
It’s the time we get to take our own special short cut that only we know. It’s the time we get to stop and look at the leaves and their different shapes and colours, and even pick a few and stuff them in our macs like we are sharing an exciting secret.
It’s the time he can use expressions I have never heard before like ‘therefore’ or ‘terrific’ which results in me bursting into spontaneous laughter for the first time that day. It’s the time he can tell me his feelings in soft, safe quiet. It’s the time he can tell me my shoes are beautiful (out of nowhere) before asking me if that’s a nice thing to say, because he always wants to say nice things.
On our walk I can tell him he makes me happier than happy, and he can tell me he wants to always make everyone happy.
I can say a silent prayer, as the rain falls, that he will never change. Then we can get his younger brother from the nursery. Finally, the three of us are together, completely together. Nothing else matters.
God willing, when they are older, I’ll remember these precious gifts – these simple walks, hand in hand with my boys – the only things that matter in my entire world.
Our walk, our time together, is as precious as life. We might be sodden, we might be cold, we might slip and slide, but we can warm each other, keep each other grounded, and some days we might even get to share a rainbow.