This morning my son left our house at 6:30am to go to his new summer job. He is lucky to be working on a road construction crew, a good job for a college student who needs to earn more than minimum wage in the summer. He was a little nervous, not sure what he will be required to do, where to park his car, how long his work day will be, and learning to work with a new boss. Add to that, it's raining. As he was getting ready to leave, he asked me if we had any raincoats. Looking in the storage closet, I found my old yellow rubber raincoat from L.L. Bean, and when my son tried it on, I was flooded with memories of his childhood.
When my kids were very young, we used to keep our camping gear in the back of the SUV so that we could leave anytime to go camping. Our favorite thing to do was drive north in Michigan until we found a place that looked interesting. We would leave the highway and follow backroads until we spotted a lake or river, always knowing a place to camp would be nearby. Early on, I taught my kids that we never changed plans based on the weather. In Michigan, all you have to do is wait five minutes and the weather will change. The first summer we spent tent camping, whenever it rained we would wait it out in the tent, but the kids were quite young and they became easily bored, so before the next summer came along, I bought tiny yellow rubber rainsuits from L.L. Bean for the kids, and a much larger one for myself. They were totally waterproof and opened up a whole new world of camping for us.
Whenever the rain came, I would put the tiny rubber pants on the kids, help them zip up their tiny rubber coats, and we would play in the rain! I have the fondest memories of my children running through the woods, flashes of bright yellow between the trees jumping in puddles and picking up handfuls of mud, only to let it slide through their fingers back to earth. My son would build giant ramps of mud to ride over on his bike, mud flinging off his tires and spraying his tiny rubber rainsuit.
When the rain ended, I would hang the tiny yellow suits from a tree to dry, and we would resume our activities, but I think the kids were always disappointed when the sun came out. They loved their little rubber suits, and splashing in the rain.
Sadly, I don't have a single photo of my kids in their tiny rainsuits. I didn't have a camera back then, and only have this picture to remember by, but the images in my head are always there, the flash of yellow and the delighted laughter which will always remind me of rain.
As my son put his raincoat on this morning, he said, "Hey! I remember these raincoats, we had matching pants, too!" It's nice to know that he, too, can remember those days from his childhood. I'd be willing to bet that, if he gets the chance, he will jump in a puddle today at the job site. Just for old times' sake.