Warm Rain

Rain days

The downpour struck fast and without warning. The rain streaks looked like steady shoots of water from the sky. On the inside of the house, the rainfall looked like a little 2-year-old who went from happy to distraught in  a few minutes.

My husband and I were spending the day with my cousin’s family: mommy, daddy, and three kidlets. As parents-to-be, James and I have a special affection for this family. The easiest way to phrase our friendship: we adore this family and love getting to play and work alongside them, and we hope we’re somehow getting a little wiser in the process.

The chaos broke out at 5pm, right as I and my cousin (the mommy of the kidlets and my dear friend) were preparing dinner.  As lightning lit the sky outside, the littlest kidlet began to weep over small things. Her mom diagnosed the issue as teething, gave her daughter some medicine, and wrapped her in a blanket with her dolly. Five minutes later, the weepy 2-year-old was vomiting and wailing.

With thunder as our backdrop, I feverish deciphered the dinner directions while the sick little girl was bathed and tended to by both her parents as they removed her clothes and gave her a warm shower. My friend returned to the kitchen after settling her daughter in fresh clothes, and laughed shakily. “I should be so stressed right now, with dinner late and throw-up everywhere, but I’m so comfortable around you, I’m just not.”

It’s one of the most beautiful things someone has told me.

I savored this combination of trust and security that made a special kind of love thicken the air that evening. Dinner miraculously came together. The sweet 2-year-old threw up all over herself a second time and the washing process repeated.  Eventually, the storm abated.

I lay down on the couch after dinner, fatigued. The middle kidlet, aged 4 years, snuggled up beside me with his head on my hip. I’d visited his family every week for months, but this was the first time he deemed me safe for cuddling.

I experienced unconditional, trusting love in a new way that night. My cousin offered it in honesty that she knew, deep down, she didn’t have to keep up appearances with me. Her 4-year-old son showed this through wordless snuggling, letting me know I was “all right” in his book.

The best way I can describe how that feels:

It means the world.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.


Warm Rain — 6 Comments

    • It was a really sweet time. We miss you, too! I get what you mean about the people, not the place. It’s the people that make a community feel like home.

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