I’m a pretty deep sleeper, but the rattling of the house and loud boom woke me up.
My eyes gave a quick squint toward the window and then closed back. In the haze between comfortably sleeping and abruptly being startled awake, my mind began to try to explain the boom and rattle.
“They are using dynamite again at the rock quarry.”
A reasonable explanation and a reality I discovered when I moved here in 2018.
“But why would they blow a hole in the earth strong enough to shake my house a couple of miles away this early in the morning?”
Then, still in this haze, my mind came up with a different explanation.
“Maybe it was an earthquake. We get earthquakes from time to time around here. There was just one a couple of years ago, and I remember this one time in second grade when we had an earthquake, and I felt my desk shake. If it was an earthquake, it would be on the news later. I wonder if it woke up the kids. I wonder if it knocked anything off the walls. I wonder…”
Then, with my eyes still shut but my mind more alert, I heard the rolling sound of thunder.
“It’s a thunderstorm.”
I love the sound of thunderstorms, but not this week.
This week I took off work to spend some time with my four kids. Unfortunately, nothing I had planned initially for this week had taken place up to this point. To make matters worse, our trip to town earlier in the week ended with a wrecker hauling my broken-down car to the shop and my father-in-law picking up the kids to get them home.
Meanwhile, I walked to the goodwill in the rain, waiting for my wife to come to rescue me. (a bit over dramatic, but still)
So, that Friday morning, laying in my bed listening to the thunder roll and the rainfall flowing down my gutters, I knew I would have to get creative.
If I didn’t, my kids would get lost in the TV, and the day would be a loss.
Don’t get me wrong, sitting in my comfortable reading chair with a new book and rain in the background as the kids zoned out on TV was tempting, but I wanted to have some fun.
In our family, fun usually involves competition, and so competition it would be.
A bit later, I grabbed a pen and tablet of paper and began sketching the plans for our “Rainy Day Competition.”
The format was simple. Each one of us would get to choose a game. There were five of us, so five total games. Each game would be worth points.
First place would get 5 points; Second place 4 points; Third place 3 points; Fourth place 2 points and Fifth place 0 points––because we don’t reward last place.
The winner would get two dollars cash (all the cash I had on me) and their choice of a Hershey’s bar or Reese’s Cup!
That may sound like nothing, but we McClure’s like our chocolate, and two dollars sounds like a lot of money to kids. Well, at least it did to my boys.
Elijah is the youngest, so he got to pick the first game. He chose THE FLOOR IS LAVA! We created an obstacle course in the house, opened the timer app on my phone, and the rainy day competitions began.
After three heats, we totaled the average scores. My oldest daughter Mariah won the first game earning her 5 points, but Ellie, my second oldest, won the fastest time, earning her a bonus point.
Jeremiah was next to choose and decided to play ULTIMATE SOCK TAG. A game he invented after watching a show on TV. Coming off a tough loss in the previous round, I battled to win round two.
Eliana was up next. Her game was HIDE AND GO SEEK. We had to get creative with the scoring system to come away with a winner, but in the end, Jeremiah took this round.
Mariah chose the game SPOONS, and she went on to win, leaving us with a tight competition going into the final round.
I led with 17 points, followed by Mariah with 15 points, Ellie with 13 points, Jeremiah with 12 points, and Elijah was a bit behind with 2 points.
My choice for the final game was ULTIMATE INDOOR PUTT PUTT GOLF. I designed a tricky nine-hole course that would challenge even the great Tiger Woods himself.
This nine-hole masterpiece went downstairs, across all rooms of the house, and involved different terrains, including carpet and laminate floors.
After nine competitive holes, I came away with the victory and, in doing so, took the championship in the first-ever “Rainy Day Competition.”
Now, for those out there saying, “that is so mean, He should of let his kids win”––NOT A CHANCE. One day they will have kids, and they can beat them in competitions, but we McClure’s play to win.
I did end up giving the two dollars and candy bar to Mariah for finishing second place.
Soon I’ll be back to work. Summer will return to its regular schedule, and I’ll return to my routines.
I’m writing this today because one day, this rainy Friday, will be a hazy memory if I don’t. It’s not the memorable Disney World or the beaches of Florida, but it’s a memory I don’t want to forget.
For four hours on a rainy Friday afternoon, we laughed and played without a care in this world. The rain and broken-down car weren’t going to steal our joy.
These are the moments I want to cherish.
When it rains on your parade, there may be something more enjoyable if you look for it.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I send a weekly email newsletter with a thought from the Bible? To find out more, click here.