I love umbrellas. And rain. Warm rain. Walking in the warm rain—not stormy weather—with a good umbrella in hand, smelling the wet asphalt, taking my time. I’ve gone through too many umbrellas in my lifetime, more than I want to think of, and I still crave more. I don’t even want the really expensive $200 umbrellas—just a nice stash of about a dozen or so ones that are nice to look at and solid to hold. I still remember one of the first things that I lovingly bought with my own money when I went to university, was a $20 sunflower umbrella (really expensive, in my father’s opinion, hence the need for me to wait until I was out on my own, and could purchase it without his direct disapproval). I loved not only the simple beauty of that umbrella, but also what it represented to me, and to this day, I’m still sad thinking of how I carelessly forgot it in a Prince Arthur St. restaurant, and ran back five minutes later, only to be told that it was no longer there, or perhaps “had never been there.” Sigh.
I love that my kids are like me in this regard: they enjoy rain, they love umbrellas, and they adore wet-weather walks. The Boy, especially, loves jumping into puddles as hard and as loudly as he can, and then sitting on the sidewalk to dump out his rainboots, while the Girl walks along with her clear umbrella, enjoying the sound of raindrops above her protected head. Ah, you gotta love the simple pleasures of childhood. (One day, when I’m smart enough to not keep forgetting, I will bring along my camera and get a glorious shot of the puddle-jumping maniac, as we ladies stand aside and grimace at the wild, muddy splashing.)
I remember when the Girl was young, less than two years old, and she and I enjoyed walking in the rain everywhere, even when a bus was available. A neighbour in our Montreal suburb smiled at us one day and said in her lovely Scottish accent, “Ah, good for you, walking out in this wet weather. You’re not made of paper.” And I’ve loved that phrasing ever since then, repeating it often when people offer to give us rides even though we prefer walking in the rain: “It’s okay; we’re not made of paper.”
I love that my kids are happy under the bright, warm sun, but can also be free-spirited and contemplative in rainy times. I love that they take pleasure from simple, beautiful accessories like umbrellas. I love that they’re not made of paper.