As luck would have it, the first warm, fat drops of rain fell from that layer cake sky just as I walked out into the balmy night.
Normally, I would have sprinted the 50 feet to my car. I don't like to get wet. My husband routinely teases me about my love for the outdoors and, conversely, my distaste for rain unless I'm safely out of it. Just two days ago, he watched with a smile from the door of the chapel where our friends were about to be married as I limped unevenly across the parking lot, my left foot in the boot and my right foot in a three-inch heel, a slippery pashmina slung over my shoulders and the world's largest golf umbrella clasped in both hands.
As I pulled out of the gym parking lot, I received an unexpected visit from a decade-old memory of an afternoon at my grandparents' house in Wake Forest. In the pictures that played on the projector screen in my mind, Grandma Kathryn chases an overalled-toddler version of Taylor around the front yard under a gray sky. Taylor manages to avoid our grandmother's outstretched arms, only to be scooped up by John when she rounds the corner and runs right through his hiding place. He turns her upside down and tickles her, then sets her on her feet. And the game begins all over again.
A soft breeze rolls over the tops of the trees - a warning for rain. As the first drops cascade out of the sky and onto our waiting faces, I run for cover. Taylor runs to the porch and tugs at the handle of an umbrella three times her size. John takes the umbrella from her, opens it and wraps her tiny fingers around the shaft. Her cherub face breaks into a grin, and she takes off down the winding path to our grandmother's garden, singing in the rain.
I smiled as I remembered this very real moment - a testament to my little sister's ability to find beauty in every drop of rain. The image of Taylor skipping down that garden path reminded me of words spoken by Cindy Smith, a courageous mother who lost her son to the same disease that threatens to take my little sister away from me forever.
"Life is not waiting for the storm to pass. It's learning to dance in the rain."
As the spring rain poured from the sky, I rolled down my window. The raindrops danced on my outstretched arm as a smile danced across my face and love filled my heart.