I was headed to the grocery store. For the second time, today. Kevin was putting helmets on the boys and finding missing shoes to go for a bike ride. "In the rain?" I asked. I had looked up only moments before to see some big fat blobs land on the kitchen window. He said it wasn't raining.
The boys were lining up at the door, helmets on, ready to get in the wagon. I insisted they wait until I was out of the drive way.
I went on to the store. And picked up Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and some vegetables to steam to go along with the tilapia I intended to cook for dinner. I remembered at the last minute to pick up the biscuits and pie filling to try an easy cobbler recipe. When I got back to the checkout I could see straight out the door. It was raining. No. It was pouring. The kind of pouring where you drive a fraction of the speed limit with your wipers on high and you still can't see the road.
And my heart dropped. The boys. In the rain. They wouldn't melt I knew. Wasn't I the one who had just days earlier picked them up one at a time to run out in the downpour to feel the rain? To look up at the sky and try to catch raindrops on our tongue?
Yet I darted out into the pouring rain to get the to car. I had to stop and take my now slippery shoes off to be able to run to the car before I was completely soaked. I didn't make it. I was drenched. I could only imagine the boys having been out in it from the onset.
As the streets filled with water coming down too fast to drain off all I could think about was that I hoped they had waited long enough that it started raining before they left. As the lightening flashed and the thunder boomed so loud it would have rattled windows I hoped that if they had gotten off that they hadn't gotten far and would have made it home before long. As I drove with the windshield wipers on high and could barely see the road I scanned the sidewalk afraid that I would find them huddled under a tree seeking shelter. As I turned the street to our house I saw the bright yellow of the wagon up near our front door. I sighed in relief that they were at home, but worried about how long they had been out in it. I made a second jaunt in the rain past the wagon to get inside.
The sight that greeted me wasn't comforting. The rug was soaked. There were water puddles all over the tile in the entry. Shoes were tossed willy nilly. And there wasn't a person in sight. As I called for the boys I saw movement near the laundry room. Two little drowned rats, naked except for their diapers. Kevin drying off in a towel. The boys, hesitant and crying. They came running, only to point out that I was wet even if they weren't anymore. I grabbed towels off the table nearby and wrapped them up in them to hold them close.
I listened as Kevin told the story of how they had only made it to the entry of our neighborhood when the downpour had started. The boys had laughed at first. But as the rain had gotten harder and continued to blow in on them and they became soaked they no longer thought it was funny. And how they had pulled the wagon all the way up to the front porch seeking shelter only to discover that with the table there wasn't room so they were in the pouring rain waiting to be unstrapped.
As it was already bath night I went ahead and took them upstairs to give them baths after changing my own clothes. And by the time we came back down the puddles and chaos had been cleaned up like it never happened. The tilapia had long since been forgotten. I fixed the boys nuggets with streamed veggies instead. And a special treat of strawberries, bananas, apples, and two kinds of grapes. Though Connor only got a few bites as he refused to so much as take a bite of his broccoli or cauliflower.