Three years ago, my daughter graduated from 5th grade. (Meaning she was making the move from elementary school to middle school). It was a lot for me to process, so I threw the young one in the car and headed out. I remember we didn’t have much time but we managed to find ourselves in front of a glorious rainbow. A rainbow that, because of the circumstances, mattered more to me than others. We watched it together and I tried to convince her that it was amazing. We watched the rainbow but eventually left it behind to get back to town for something important, I don’t remember what it was. Funny that, I remember the exact day, I remember it was Anna’s last day of 5th grade, and I remember the rainbow, but I don’t, for the life of me, remember what was so important we had to get back to town.
Today was a gray cloudy day. Today was an ass-kicker. Today I only wanted to go home and find my couch and let all the bullshit drip off me and fall away. Anna asked for the third time if we could go get some dinner. Reluctantly, I peeled myself off the couch and, after a quick glance outside, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to grab my camera. We drove down the driveway and after another momentary study of the sky I said “I… think this is gonna get cool.” Anna agreed. “Would you mind if we drove for a bit and grabbed dinner when we get back?” I asked, to my surprise, she said “No! Lets go!”
The rain continued to fall as we drove an old familiar gravel road east of town. A road I travel often; a road that is never disappointing; a road that fixes things. With one eye on the sky, I chose that road with intention. I had a feeling it would get us to where we needed to be.
Today was Anna’s last day of 8th grade. That means for the next 4 years you may hear me utter the words “My daughter is in High School.” I’ve heard other people say things like that, but how could it be possible that I am the one saying it now? The thing about having a kid who is in (**cough) high school, is that she’s really interested in terrifying things like learning to drive, and boys. I’m not much help in the later category, but I can do my best to make sure that when she does get behind the wheel, she’s prepared.
The request to drive came almost immediately, but I held off until we were a safe number of miles down the gravel road. It was still raining, but you could see the distinct edge of the storm, and I knew once the sun dropped below the clouds, we would be witness to a glorious rainbow… at least, that’s what I hoped. I must admit, although I was successful in predicting what we eventually saw, I grossly underestimated how long it would take. This mistake was no trouble for us though, we drove all about and the time spent waiting for the storm’s edge to catch up to us was rich with quality conversation and beautiful sights to see…. not to mention some lessons in how to drive in reverse.
Eventually though, The sun finally fell into position below the clouds and it was blazing… it was time for the show. “Here it comes! Stop right here!!!” Anna pulled off in the most insanely picturesque spot ever and less than 3 seconds later the sky exploded. To the east ribbons of rain caught not only the rainbow but the red/orange glow from the blasting sun.
That sucker was epic, there’s no other way to say it. One so good I can’t even come close to being able to do it justice with my camera. (Not that I didn’t try) I clicked and snapped and realized we could keep the magnificence going if we followed the storm. So we piled in the car, Anna still at the wheel and kept going
About a mile down the road I exclaimed again “STOP HERE.” She did and I clicked some more. It was then that I remembered being there, in that exact same spot, 3 years ago… watching that rainbow with my just freshly middle-schooled daughter. A tear fell from my eye as I looked back at my now just freshman, behind the wheel of my car.
There will always be moments like that, and there will always be rainbows… but sometimes both the moments and the rainbows get to be SO good that they blaze themselves into your memory forever. And sometimes they are so good, you forget to grab dinner, which is why you had to get off the couch in the first place….