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Inevitably, A Little Rain Must Fall

When we have a rainy day at the lake, Junior is the first one to break into the game closet. June stocked it with games for her family when they were younger and there are card games, old fashioned board games and puzzles. After breakfast, the children are able to entertain themselves for a couple of hours until lunch. Daisy sometimes asks Junior to help her during games even when they are competitors. That’s trust.

Knowing that there is always a cool wet day allows me to plan for a hot soup and sandwich day to counteract the weather. While I prepared the soup, Steve snoozed off and on in front of the fireplace. We only made indoor fires when it rained and I imagined it must be nice in the fall to have it available. After lunch, the kids needed some different entertainment, so we all played Bingo and charades. Winners choose the next game and Steve and Daisy won the last game of charades, so it was their choice. Steve suggested we all sit around the fire and read. My insides were clapping but I wanted to see the children’s reactions. They were both initially excited to get paid to read when Steve suggested it previously. He reminded Daisy and Junior of his offer and knew that I always packed books on trips for them. In addition, there was a small corner bookcase that had books and an old atlas available. We had never really explored its contents before, so Steve suggested we start there. Steve pulled a couple of pillows onto the floor and the children followed him over to the bookcase. Steve sent Junior to bring some flashlights. For the next couple of hours, the three of them sat cozily in that corner pouring over maps, reading excerpts of books and poems and giggling. It was fun to experience as I sat in the corner of the sofa reviewing a textbook for one of my next classes.

Later that afternoon, I made hot chocolate and we all sat out on the porch listening to the thunder and watching the lightning. I wondered if this would become a forever memory for the kids. I knew it would be for me. After dinner and a rousing game of Fish, I put the children to bed. Steve stoked the fire and moved the sofa closer to the fireplace. I fixed some hot toddies and put them on a tray with brownies that I baked that afternoon. We cuddled up in front of the fire and watched the flames jump around and crackle. I told Steve how good he was with the kids and how much I appreciated his keeping them busy while I read my textbook. Steve acknowledged that he had a lot of things he wanted to do with the children but didn’t want to overstep my plans. I had no idea that I had taken over to the degree that he didn’t feel comfortable jumping in with the children. Strangely enough, Steve said he realized that if I could feel competent enough to take over grilling, he could certainly spend any time he chose with his children. I had no words to say; I had mistaken his silence after the burger event to his being put out but he was really just thinking through something he hadn’t faced before.

I reminded Steve that we made a good team. Parenting really takes two at its best and childcare duties can be seen as women’s work. Steve said that he definitely wanted to be a better dad than his own. Steve said that his dad would never have sat with him on the floor on pillows. Fatherhood was definitely evolving, along with motherhood. I felt as if Steve had created another memory for me that day. We were both changing and I knew that we would stay on the same path with the children. I enjoyed the possibility of adapting to the continuing changes of our modern world. As we approach the last years of the 1950s, life is still improving. Change never bothered me too much, but uncertainty sometimes makes me think twice and plan.

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