Last week, it rained for 64 hours straight.
On Monday, after 30 hours of rain, I found myself sitting in the car with Kiddo#4, in a parking lot, waiting for Kiddo#3 to finish up an activity. Yes, there’s a waiting area, but no, Kiddo#4 wanted nothing to do with it. So in the car we sat.
Kiddo#4 finds it hilarious to sit in other people’s seats. “I be seat guy!” and then “I Dada!” or “I Kiddo#1!” It wasn’t long until, “Momma, you be Dada,” and I’d go sit in various places to be our different family members.
As I perched in Kiddo#3’s car seat, I thought about how small the minivan felt, but then I had another thought: when I was a kid, I’d have loved a sheltered space in the rain. I remember playing with the neighbor’s daughter on Grandma E’s front porch , not that much bigger than the minivan, and for us, it was a palace. We’d run from her palace to mine. Or we were superheroes, and these were our fabulous lairs.
Or Grandma L’s front stoop, again tiny but with its twisty corners around the french windows, perfect for imaginary rooms and secret passages.
Kiddo#4 climbed into the driver’s seat to be Momma, and Momma went into the third row of seating. I removed the booster seat and tossed it into the trunk area, then pulled the lever to flatten the seat. Then I climbed onto the seat and curled up as if I were sleeping.
Kiddo#4 started to laugh. “I want go bed!” So I climbed down into the trunk well and sat in the booster seat on the floor while he laid down on the platform created by the third row of seats.
I had a magic castle right there, a palace or a superhero lair. There’s no reason my car has to be a car, not if it’s a rainy day and we’re stuck in it for fifteen minutes. Why sit in the seats when with a little reconfiguration we can climb, lie down, or divide it into small rooms?
On a rainy day in a parking lot, why should I be an adult?
Ten minutes later, Kiddo#3 saw what I’d done and shrieked with delight. He climbed into the back, tussled with his brother, and didn’t want to return to simply sitting in a booster seat even though I won’t drive without him in one. He’d decided a magical lair is much more fun than a car.
And I think, to some extent, I agree.