Some of my best memories from childhood include storm chasing and watching with my father. People in general have this propensity to dislike thunderstorms and rain, often for good reason. But back home in the Maritimes, my father and I would enjoy that weather and use it as an opportunity for enjoyment. Having grown up on the shores of an actual bay feeding out to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, we were subjected to some doozies. During the best of times, we could clearly see storm front coming towards the shore and had plenty of time to prepare and watch the big show. Sometimes we’d jump into the car and go park at the light house and just watch the storm approach and hit.
Besides providing much-needed air moisture, refilling water beds and replenishing vegetation, rain has shown to have benefits in helping a person relax and calm themselves. Watching the falling rain through a window from the comfort of one’s home is therapeutic. My father and I would take it up a notch by intentionally chasing the rain. I’ve lost track of the number of times during my youth when we jumped in the car and drove after heavy rains to see where they’d peter out (pun fully intended, my father’s name is Peter!). To some, it seems ridiculous but to me, it was valuable time with my father and fed my interest in weather and science.
Last Friday, I got home from work and discussed plans with my son Nathan to have a “camp-out.” This is something Nathan enjoys doing where he builds up a blanket fort on a small mattress, usually in the basement, with the intention of snacking and sleeping downstairs. I spend the night on the queen bed we have for guests. I don’t get what the appeal of the activity is, but I get to spend time with my first-born and he gets to enjoy an indoor activity that doesn’t involve antagonizing his baby brother. How is that not a win-win?
When I got home from work, we started to discuss the evening and we had a family outing planned that required Nathan’s best behaviour. Although I understand that most modern households adhere to the whole concept that parents should stop treating children’s behaviour as acting out or being bad and accept that it’s because they lack the communication skills to express what they’re feeling. However, fuck that. When we’re out in public, my expectation is NOT the destruction of everything in sight and running around like the world’s biggest disaster cut loose in public.
By the time we had gotten home, some of his behaviour out in public had me questioning whether he deserved his “camp-out.” I decided to vent my frustrations in one of the only ways that I typically know how: by working out. I got a good burn, listened to some awesome music and when I was done, sat comfortably in my garage with a decent cigar (I say decent because if I bought great cigars, I’d probably be bankrupt) and blew my cares away in a puff of blue smoke and random YouTube videos. After some time, Nathan came out to see what I was doing and sat with me in the garage.
A huge, dark cloud formation rolled in over Regina and the rumblings of a storm were coming towards us. Nathan became fixated on watching for the occasional flash of lightning and giggling at the fact that thunder and lightning “never happens together.” In anticipation of the power going out and a heavy downpour of rain, I suggested that we move the party inside. Much to my surprise, Nathan wanted to stay outside and watch the storm from the garage. he turned on the interior lights and sat comfortably, watching the sky for what was coming. I was struck with a wave of nostalgia, remembering the occasions where my father and I would do this very thing. It’s true what they say; some of the best things in life are free.
In the end, the rain that fell was barely a trickle but we had the opportunity to enjoy repetitive flashes of lightning and booming thunder. It was fun to sit out there and enjoy the weather with my child, who seemed as interested in it as I was. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most fun. We made out way inside and to the basement, where we discussed deep, philosophical topics, such as Star Wars, Mario Kart racing and various “how it’s made” videos on YouTube. The rain began falling harder once we were inside but we had our fun. Sometimes you have to take time to enjoy the simpler things in life. ☯️