For two weeks it was cold and grey outside, the air filled with a dense fog. The weather guy called it a temperature inversion, brought on by warm sunny skies on the coast. People were tweeting scenes from the top of nearby mountain ranges. “Above the clouds!” the photo caption would read, with barely restrained frenzy. Or “Finally found the sun!” Every picture looked like it was taken out the window of a plane: a seemingly impenetrable layer of grey-white cotton batting spread flat beneath the incongruous shock of empty blue sky.

January in the Northwest is never cheery but this fog, my god. After a while it made me feel claustrophobic, like the air itself was pressing down on me. Being home all day didn’t help, the sunroom off the back of the house — uninsulated and too cold to sit in this time of year — felt like an unwanted barrier between the increasingly shrinking living room and the backyard. The only way to look outside is through another room. Like being in a fishbowl, forever looking for a place to build up some speed but finding only curved glass.

On Saturday the sky was grumpy and unsure of itself. It rained then the sun came out then it rained again. Light filtered through the house and held every smear and fingerprint and dusty surface in sharp relief. I should clean, I thought. “Put your coats on, guys,” I said.

We walked to the nearby park in full sunshine, walked down the busy street by the Safeway under gathering clouds, and when we were maybe half a mile from home the rain came in earnest. We ran down the street, stopped under the cover of a church doorway, ran on. Dylan’s face flushed into three perfectly round spots: his cheeks, the tip of his nose. We panted and gasped and laughed. My jeans soaked through and clung unpleasantly, my hair worked free of its ponytail and slapped wetly against my neck. The boys’ eyelashes stood out in wet spikes. “This is RIDICULOUS!” Riley shouted, delighted. We ran through puddles that danced at the surface.

Later, Riley drew me a picture of our outing. “Here,” he said, a little shyly, shifting back and forth on his feet. “I know we didn’t see a rainbow but it seemed like one was there.”

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 4.00.16 PM


72 Responses to “It seemed like one was there”

  1. LisaK on January 28th, 2013 5:13 pm

    Awwwwww…This isthe sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

  2. Rachel on January 28th, 2013 5:15 pm

    oh, you gave me the eye-prickles again. I swear, I am super OK with my kids being older until you go and do something like this.

  3. Kristen on January 28th, 2013 5:15 pm

    That right there is why people have kids. I’m not a crier and I just teared up reading that.

  4. Randy on January 28th, 2013 5:16 pm

    Love the picture you painted with words and the one your son drew equally well. Very nice. Sucks to be wet though.

  5. Jennifer on January 28th, 2013 5:21 pm

    The sweetest.

  6. Eric's Mommy on January 28th, 2013 5:27 pm

    So sweet!

  7. Megan on January 28th, 2013 5:32 pm

    Seriously, “it seemed like one was there”, the most awesome compliment ever. And claustrophobic is EXACTLY what it felt like. Like it was pushing at my lungs. I took our dog for a walk during the morning sun and I swear I was grinning like a fool the whole time.

  8. Jen on January 28th, 2013 5:37 pm

    This is so beautiful and poignant and touching…I’m sitting here with tears coming down my face. (I have little boys too so this went straight to my heart)

  9. Sadie on January 28th, 2013 5:55 pm

    This is beautiful, especially because these will be the things the boys remember about their childhood. Not that the windows were smeared or that time you were short with them when you were all cooped up…no, this is the kind of thing they will remember.

  10. Staci on January 28th, 2013 6:10 pm

    I got tears in my eyes when I read this. :)

  11. CA on January 28th, 2013 6:13 pm

    Oh my god. You can now die happy, amirite? I pray every day that I can get over myself enough to give my kids moments where they feel like that.

  12. Amy on January 28th, 2013 6:14 pm

    I repeat what I said yesterday: “I love your writing. Really really really love it.”

    Looking forward to reading your novels. (Should you decide to write them.)

  13. Em on January 28th, 2013 6:29 pm

    The nicest compliment a person could ever get, if you ask me. I need to get someone to mop up this puddle I melted into.

  14. Aubrey on January 28th, 2013 6:31 pm

    So precious!

  15. Emily on January 28th, 2013 6:33 pm

    So sweet. My daughter draws my hair the same way.

  16. Clarabella on January 28th, 2013 7:03 pm

    How sweet!

  17. Danell on January 28th, 2013 7:11 pm

    Oh, did you just dissolve right on the spot? Your boys are just the cutest!

  18. Jo on January 28th, 2013 7:25 pm

    Dammit! Tears in my eyes at my desk! Beautifully written and a beautiful drawing :)

  19. Lisa on January 28th, 2013 7:29 pm

    That’s beautiful!

  20. Annie on January 28th, 2013 7:57 pm

    Riley, will you marry me?

  21. Jenny on January 28th, 2013 8:00 pm

    Look at your pigtails! What a kid! What a mom!

  22. g on January 28th, 2013 8:10 pm

    I feel like I say this every time I comment but man, you are a wonderful writer. Whatever you post is a pleasure to read. Also, Riley is a keeper!

  23. nonsoccermom on January 28th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Oh, what a sweet kid. I love it!

  24. michelle l. on January 28th, 2013 10:15 pm

    everything about this is awesome!

  25. Sarah on January 28th, 2013 10:17 pm

    I loved this. Your openness inspires me to be more fun.

  26. Victoria on January 28th, 2013 10:41 pm

    Oh! *hugs*

  27. jody on January 29th, 2013 12:31 am

    Your posts always get me a little choked up. My boys are pretty close in age to yours and I can so relate to so much of what you write. Love it. You should frame that. :)

  28. NancyB on January 29th, 2013 4:11 am

    That will become a “remember when …..?” moment!
    Love it!

  29. Jess on January 29th, 2013 5:01 am


  30. Amanda on January 29th, 2013 6:09 am


  31. Donna on January 29th, 2013 6:35 am

    My daughter has a saying about teaching your kids to dance in the rain, you did and they will remember. Nice!

  32. jonniker on January 29th, 2013 6:43 am

    OMG. I love this.

  33. Robin on January 29th, 2013 7:14 am

    The things that matter, the things they will remember — you can never choreograph those moments, but you can run and pant and gasp your way through laughing instead of cursing, and that is the real gift. Thank you for this!

  34. Renee on January 29th, 2013 7:36 am

    TOOOOO sweet. What a darling you have there :)

  35. SJ on January 29th, 2013 7:45 am

    This? This is why we have kids. They say the most honest and innocent things when you need to hear them the most.

  36. sarawr on January 29th, 2013 8:00 am

    The way you write is just the best kind of gut-punch.

  37. Alex on January 29th, 2013 8:41 am

    That is damn fantastic.

  38. KeraLinnea on January 29th, 2013 9:20 am

    Oh my god…Tell me you cried, so I don’t feel so silly for crying over this. That is so, so, wonderful.

  39. Nichole on January 29th, 2013 9:24 am

    Oh, that’s just crazy-sweet?

  40. Nichole on January 29th, 2013 9:24 am

    Ugh, where’d that question mark come from? That was supposed to be an exclamation point. Thanks, cold medicine.

  41. ememby on January 29th, 2013 10:26 am

    The sweetest – what a perfect parenting moment! The kind we all hope for when we have our babies!

  42. laziza on January 29th, 2013 10:41 am

    Oh golly.

  43. Olivia on January 29th, 2013 11:18 am

    That is so sweet! I just took my kids out in a drizzly rain this morning. We’ve been so home bound because of freezing temps, but today it is 60 degrees and regardless of the rain I had to get us out. Tomorrow it will be cold again, but at least we got some fresh air today.

  44. Emma on January 29th, 2013 11:51 am

    Riley has inherited your gift for expressing his emotions beautifully with words (and drawings, to boot!).

  45. liana on January 29th, 2013 12:05 pm

    Dammit, That was so sweet I cried. At work. Just beautiful Linda!

  46. Sarah on January 29th, 2013 1:19 pm

    just cried.

  47. CharlieSue on January 29th, 2013 1:45 pm


  48. Her on January 29th, 2013 4:12 pm

    *sniffle* We all need more Rileys in our lives.

  49. deanna on January 29th, 2013 4:48 pm

    man, we spend an awful lot of time physically picking up our kids, but it’s pretty awesome when they come in and pick us up every once and a while too…

    so awesome.

  50. Betsy on January 29th, 2013 6:40 pm

    Love <3

  51. kendra! on January 29th, 2013 7:28 pm

    Please frame this in platinum. The museum of your life is really awesome. Love to visit as long as I don’t have to stand behind the velvet rope.

  52. Amber on January 29th, 2013 9:04 pm

    That is so incredibly sweet.

  53. Angela on January 29th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Aw, that is the best thing ever. What a sweet boy Riley is, and what a wonderful memory to treasure.

  54. rachel on January 29th, 2013 10:18 pm

    so lovely.

  55. Tia on January 30th, 2013 9:24 am

    That is awesome.

  56. Kelly on January 30th, 2013 9:32 am

    That right there is proof that it’s always better to put off the cleaning! :) Do you ever look back and think of the fond memories of scrubbing? This is a keeper to print out and keep with his picture of the day. :)

  57. Stacy H-W on January 30th, 2013 3:35 pm

    Don’t you just love those “perfect” moments when things are really perfect but seem like it? This is definitely something to scrap. (if you still do that)

  58. Maggie on January 30th, 2013 3:39 pm

    I love this, it is so purely innocent and sweet! Wisdom beyond his years…I definitely needed this today :)

  59. Amy N on January 30th, 2013 5:19 pm

    sniff….why do kids always know exactly what to say without knowing they know?

  60. Maureen on January 30th, 2013 8:00 pm

    I just read this to my husband, and we are both in tears. As empty nesters-I can tell you with some kind of authority-these are the moments a parent’s life is made of. Thank you for sharing!

  61. Jennifer on January 31st, 2013 3:33 pm

    Riley even drew the rainbow colors in the correct order. Way to go R!

  62. Lori on January 31st, 2013 4:50 pm

    His quote gave me tears! I realize I don’t know you guys personally, but I really adore your family. You guys are so intentional about parenting those boys and making great childhood memories for them. I love it.

  63. Laura Diniwilk on January 31st, 2013 5:10 pm

    Looks like Riley inherited his mom’s way with words :)

  64. gen on February 2nd, 2013 5:11 pm

    that just made me cry. <3

  65. Lori on February 3rd, 2013 1:37 pm

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for years now. I’ve always thought you were a good writer. This post & the one before? Wow. Really. You are a *great* writer.

  66. Diane on April 5th, 2013 1:12 pm

    Was just looking back to see if I had missed any of your entries and this one didn’t sound familiar…so I decided to check it out…and now I am sitting here in tears with a smile in my heart…your writing is amazing and I’m sure you know that your children are also amazing.

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