When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

March 22, 2010

Sophie learning to shag (Atlanta, March 19, 2010)

March 22, 2010.  We’re on our way home from Atlanta today, cramped and tired on a predictably delayed Delta flight, but happy all the same.  It’s wet and gloomy, as was yesterday, but Friday and Saturday foretold the promise of spring, when Atlanta is truly in its glory.  Our sister’s husband threw a surprise party for her 50th birthday.  Her two college-aged kids, as well as my brothers and I, flew in for the weekend. She honestly didn’t expect us as we all live out of state and her children attend Georgetown and Boston College.  The astonished look on Patty’s face, which lasted for hours, and the warm tears in her eyes, more than compensated for the hassle and expense the extravaganza exacted. We’re family, and there’s nothing more precious or worth preserving than the bonds that give us purpose, hope, cheer, and strength.  We were worried about Peter, though.  He doesn’t always travel well and we knew the party would be loud and continue late into the night.  But despite the neighborhood band playing in the basement, their drums and electric guitars refusing to surrender to the constraints of age, Peter coped well.  Two years ago he would have torn through the party at warp speed, eyes bulging wildly as he spewed random thoughts, and we would have had to leave.  But he’s improving.  This time, on his own and without being forced or even encouraged, he found the game room, closed the double doors, and played video games.  Sophie spent four frenzied, blissful hours learning to shag with one of Patty’s closest girlfriends while Peter listened intently, and with increasing maturation, to the beat of his own internal rhythm.  He couldn’t dance with the other kids, the noise was too loud and the guests too rowdy, but throughout the night the party came more quietly to him.  Patty’s friends filed frequently through to spend time with Peter, as did Pat and I, of course.  It was lovely, really, and such a kind, supportive scene.  And that’s a gift we can give Peter, one that Russia could not: the attentive kinship of family and friends, the knowledge that different is okay and can be embraced with love, compassion and a healthy dollop of humor. There are times when its okay to bring the party to him, just as there are times Pat and I need to work to bring Peter to the party, to the table, to the playground, and hopefully, ultimately, to life.



  1. That’s a beautiful closing line. And I love your title, “When Rain Hurts.” Wow…

    Rob Hanson of the Chrislip Journal

    Comment by chrislipjournal — March 23, 2010 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  2. I hope that we can all work so that Russia (and other countries) can give their children this gift, which is not an exclusively American gift.

    Comment by Adelaide Dupont — March 23, 2010 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

    • Of course! It’s not a gift from a nation – its a gift of family – no matter where the child lives. But Russia puts orphans in orphanages, without family, and therefore without much hope for a productive, happy life

      Comment by whenrainhurts — March 24, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  3. These moments of bright shafts of light must be so encouraging and comforting to you and Pat.

    Comment by Kendra Bonnett — March 30, 2010 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

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