'Dad, it's raining,' my 7-year-old said when I woke up. 'Let's go jump in puddles!'

A long time ago, I was in a dream, and it was raining.

It felt so real, I woke up. My arm was hanging out of my apartment window, clutching tightly to my pillow. It was raining hard.

It was one of the strangest ways I have ever woken. Mostly, I was relieved I didn't fall out the window.

The other day, after a very late night of work, I slept longer than I should have. I slept long enough to hear my wife get up and get ready, and remind me for maybe the third time she was working and I needed to watch our daughters.

And then I was walking through a dense forest with no idea whether I was coming or going. And the pine needles on the trees were tickling my nose.

Then I opened my eyes, and a fuzzy, upside-down cat stared right back a me. Her whiskers tickled my nose enough I had to scratch it.

And my daughters laughed hysterically.

My oldest cradled the cat like a baby, and my youngest announced that my "kitty alarm" was going off.

The cat looked to me for help before being released to nap in the middle of the kitchen floor.

"Dad, it's raining," my 7-year-old said. "Let's go jump in puddles!"

"Yeah, Dad," my 4-year-old chimed in as she climbed on top of me. "Let's jump in puddles!"

When you have little kids, you don't need an alarm clock.

It was raining hard outside; one of those rains that falls perfectly vertical. It came down so fast, each drop looked to be about a foot long. The sound was mesmerizing, and I closed my eyes and embraced it.

"Dad, get up!" my daughters yelled while one grabbed my pillow and the other jumped up and down on me.

I scooped them up and hugged them.

"Let's just sleep a little while longer," I said.

My 4-year-old lifted my eyelid and told me that wasn't going to work. And she called me "cutie pie."

"Come on, Dad, we're going to miss it," my oldest said. The last time it rained, we missed out on the puddles because, by the time they convinced me I should let them go out in the rain, it stopped.

It was the first time I have ever seen someone complain because the neighborhood sewer system worked efficiently.

When I sat up, they handed me a cup of coffee. I gave a quizzical look, and they told me my "Mom" poured it before she left. It still was warm.

When I walked into the kitchen, they were in the porch wearing rain boots. When I reached the porch, they were running down the driveway with their arms spread wide as if they intended to feel each drop of rain.

They leaped in tandem and crashed down hard enough to empty a puddle when they landed. And they laughed hard.

They splashed up and down the street. At one point my oldest stopped, removed a boot, and dumped out a cup of water.

Then the rain stopped. And they booed loudly.

"OK," my oldest announced, "you go back to dreaming."

I shook my head. "Nah, this is much better."

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @DaveManley