Friday, August 28, 2015

Storm Chasers Got Nothing on Us

It was just an average drive home from Target. Hyrum and Eve begged to buy everything in sight, and Mom insisted on sticking to the list. In the back seat, one child teary-eyed and the other sulking against the window. Micah sat shotgun, playing the favorite child role.* The sky darkened a little and the trees bent from right to left--wind from the east almost always means a storm around here. The sky in the direction of our house looked promising.

"Think it's raining at our house, guys?"

My Arizona kids love a good rainstorm, and the word rain perked the ears of even the grumpiest among them.

Our five-minute drive home ended with no rain overhead, and all of us were disappointed. Suddenly, I thought something fantastic.

"Hey. Should we chase the storm down? Find the rain? Doesn't look like it's too far from here."

My stroke of genius generated an unexpectedly weak response, but I was undeterred. Turning right and left and right again--always keeping the giant dark clouds in sight--I tried to maneuver us into the storm's path. With the complicating factor that I had five guests coming to dinner in an hour, I knew I couldn't take long on this chase.

After turning one way and hitting impassable road construction, I decided it was best to head home. I flipped a U-turn, and just as I was about to enter the freeway, I thought, "Just one more chance. Let's head north and see what happens."

It happened.

If you have never experienced a legit Arizona monsoon storm, you haven't lived. An all-too-common blistering sunlit day suddenly darkens with clouds of moisture and desert dust. The wind whips bark off palm trees and topples trash cans. Headlights turn on and power goes out.

And then the clouds open, and it rains. Driving, pelting sheets of rain that last unpredictable lengths of time--a minute to an hour or more.
This particular storm cell was intense--so intense that sheets of rain blew across the windshield faster than my wipers could remove it.

"Should I pull over?"

The boys whooped. "Can we get out and play in it if you do?"

Arizona monsoons were made for rain-starved Arizona kids. How can a mom say no?

In five violent minutes, the fields had turned to mud and I didn't want to shampoo my Suburban's carpets just for a frolic in the rain. Quickly scanning the unfamiliar neighborhood, I saw a concrete circular driveway that I'm sure had been installed for the express purpose of rainstorm enjoyment.

The boys were so excited that doors of the Suburban opened before I could park. Rain whipped in as the boys scampered out, but the wind was so strong that Micah could barely close the door. This was a good one.
Eve elected to stay dry with me. Smart girl.
 Notice the sideways garbage cans?
"Mom, aren't you so glad I stayed in here with you? Mom, aren't you glad we can watch the rain from in here? Mom, can you see the brothers? Mom, isn't this the best?"
Yes to all, my girl.
The boys alternated between hovering next to the Suburban's headlights and racing to the oleander hedge and back.
They also threw in a few good dance moves and sifted through the rocks on the driveway. Hyrum even found a teeny piece of turquoise, "our state gem, Mom!"
I looked at the clock and knew that my storm chasing needed to end. Who would feed our company? Just as I was about to honk the horn (which I knew would scare the crap out of the boys but how else would I get their attention? I wasn't going out there!), the boys crawled back into the car. They couldn't have been wetter if they'd jumped fully clothed into the pool
Shivering with cold and shaking with the thrill of the storm, they both exclaimed, "THAT WAS AWESOME!"

I turned onto the road and drove to the nearest intersection. The street was a name I recognized, and I knew I could meander along it towards home. The closer we drew to home, the softer and fewer the raindrops fell. By the time we reached our house, the sidewalks only bore a few drop marks and the trees stood straight and almost dry.

Boys ran upstairs for warm pajamas (no matter it was 5 pm), Eve found her baby doll, and I popped the pasta into the oven.

With time to spare.

The next time I ask the kids if they want to chase the rain, I expect their responses to be a little more enthusiastic.

*Do your kids do that? When one of them is in trouble, the other decides to be on their best behavior?


  1. That is so awesome! Good call! And I laughed so hard at the "favorite child role". Mine all have done this and it always cracks me up!!

  2. This post made me so so homesick. Sitting at my work desk and had to open a new tab to and close my eyes for a few minutes.