"We don’t need an umbrella,” he said.
She looked out at the rain streaked window and frowned.
“We’re going to get wet,” she said, measuring the distance between the car and the front door of the school with her eyes.
“We’ll be quick to the door,” consoled her dad. “We’ll run so fast the rain won’t catch us.”
“Yeah, right,” she said. “Everybody else has an umbrella. Except us.”
She waved at the tight procession of shuffling peers and parents. Their colorful umbrellas broke up the gray of the day with big splashes of yellow and red and green.
“They’re beautiful,” she said with a wry smile and then a pout at the prospect before them.
Her dad opened his door and quickly shut it before circling around to the other side of the car. She felt a breath of cold air spread across the interior and then a burst of it as he opened her door to the wind and rain.
“Come on,” he said, holding out his hand with a laugh.
She laughed too as she jumped down, narrowly missing a puddle, and her feet slipped on the rain-slicked blacktop. Holding onto his hand, she was able to keep her balance.
“Backpack up,” he instructed, helping her lift it to cover her head before taking flight.
They sprinted across the lot with big, uneven steps, avoiding lakes and rivers that pooled haphazardly across the uneven parking lot. And as they approached the procession of umbrellas, she saw the procession very differently as they dashed alongside it. Most of the parents looked grumpy, drawn up against the cold, taking tiny steps as hands tightened around the handles.
“Be careful,” warned one of them, as she drew her son closer as if to ward off the cold.
“Don’t splash,” huffed another, directing her daughter to move away from the curb.
“Hurry along,” frowned a third, giving them barely enough space to pass by.
But with each indignation, her father only laughed harder as they passed. Sometimes he would even stop or spin around with her, wishing everyone a good morning or inviting them to reflect on the beautiful day and wondrous weather. And every time he did, she immediately felt warmed by her own laughter.
“Oh my, come inside, come inside,” fretted the principal waiting for them at the front door. “The two of you are getting all wet.”
“Yes,” said the little girl. “Isn’t it grand?”
And in the moment, her smile stretching wide until her cheeks hurt, she understood. It really was grand to skip across the parking lot in the rain, dance rather than complain their way inside, and warm themselves not with layers but with the happiness in their hearts.
“You and your dad need an umbrella,” the principal offered.
“We don’t need an umbrella,” she smiled.