Thunderstorms.

Whether you look at the chaos of a storm symbolically or not the truth is life and thunderstorms can be scary. What matters is how we come out of the ordeal.

The idea for this post came from my daughter.

Late last night the earth shattering boom of thunder work her up and caused her to scramble into my room. My husband knowing the drill all too well shifted to his side while I shifted to mine making room for her to snuggle right between us. He kissed her forehead and whispered calming words. She grabbed for my hand and I hugged her. With every lightening strike I could hear her counting, one Mississippi, two Mississippi..then the loud roar of thunder would echo. She’d jump. Shut her eyes tight and begin counting again at every flash that lit up our room.

My husband taught her to count the seconds in between the lightening and thunder so you know if the storm is getting closer or further away. She does it every time. I feel terrible because while I am sitting there trying to convince her that there is nothing to be afraid of I can feel my heart beat speed up with each crackle in the sky.

She’s nervous, no, frightened, and for good reason.

A few years back there was a terrible thunderstorm that had brought about a tornado. Like I do any time there is a watch/warning I turn on the news, get the flash lights, make sure everyone is dressed and ready to head to the shelter, grab my cell phone and try to listen for the sirens. My husband was at work and it was just the two of us. Alone in our town home. The weather man had broken in to say that there had been a tornado sighted. It touched down. People should remain calm and find safety now. I phoned my husband as I put my daughters jacket on. I hadn’t heard sirens yet but we were getting prepared. All of a sudden, within the blink of an eye, the weather man alerted the viewers where the tornado was..it was right up the street from us. Just then the power goes out..I’m startled and panicked. Before I know it there is golf ball sized hail raining down. In a split second I make the decision that it would be too dangerous to run outside with her..in the main apartment building that our town home was attached to was a basement/tornado shelter…instead I swoop her up and run for the laundry room. The doors closed tight. It was located in the middle of our home. It was where my husband urged us to go in case of an emergency like that. As she cried and begged me to tell her what was going on we could hear the wind howling, it was angry, it was ferocious. The hail beat down on the roof, it sounded like rocks being shattered against pavement.

You couldn’t hear a thing right in front of you and yet some how the eerie cry of the sirens bellowed in our ears..

I tried calling my husband with no answer. I hugged her and told her that everything would be just fine. My voice was shaking as I choked on my own words. I tried to keep a brave face for what felt like an eternity. As quick as the chaos had come it was gone and over with. The power flickered but eventually came back on and my husbands face lit up my cell phones screen. I answered to let him know that we were fine. Everything was fine.

Except, everything wasn’t fine. Because deep down inside my daughter had discovered what fear was. Not the surprise of finding a spider in your shoe, or when someone pops out from around a corner and startles you..no, true fear. Now my daughter can’t even breathe when the power goes out which happens occasionally with a storm. She panics and timidly asks if the light sprinkles of rain are going to be a thunder storm or a tornado. This leaves me feeling helpless. I know that I am supposed to teach her to be strong, brave, and courageous..but sometimes even I get scared.

Sometimes a lot of us get scared.

And maybe that isn’t such a bad thing to embrace once in while. Fear is what changes your mind about stepping out in front of those cars, fear of complications is what keeps me maintaining healthy blood sugars, fear of skin cancer is what makes you lather yourself up in sunscreen. Fear and bravery go hand in hand.

One doesn’t make you better than the other.

They both make you human.

People think it’s a sign of weakness to admit that you are afraid of this or that. I don’t think it’s weakness at all. In fact I think it’s very brave, and courageous, and strong of an individual to be able to admit fear. The fact that you can still move forward in spite of some fears makes you braver and stronger than you think. Those are the lessons I hope to teach my daughter and the baby bean. That it’s okay to be afraid of things just as long as you can still keep going.

I hope that one day she’ll grow out of this, she’ll learn that sometimes we can’t control what the weather, or life, will throw at us but that we can control how we view it. Sometimes things get scary but sometimes life can be beautiful. Embrace every moment and learn from them, too. There are still things that I am afraid of, I’ve just learned to approach them differently.

What are you afraid of?

 

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3 Comments

  1. I think tornadoes are some of the most terrifying things out there. I remember, vaguely, when I was probably 4 or 5 or so, I was in a supermarket with my mother when a tornado came through. They brought all the customers to the area in the back (where, years later, I assume it was to protect us from the glass storefront and high stocked shelves), and when it was done, we left via the loading dock. I was too young to understand it (why did we leave our cart in the store?) but I do remember water dripping from the ceiling and cars not where they were before. We found our car and drove home as if nothing had happened; the store eventually was torn down and rebuilt.

    But a few years ago when Hurricane Irene came through the northeast, I remember hearing stories of tornadoes popping up and I brought the family down to the basement to sleep through the night. I didn’t actually sleep well at all, but it was comforting to have the family with me, and to not hear the wind and rain howling outside (not as loudly, anyway). The hard thing is knowing what to tell the kids and what not to. I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep or that I can’t follow myself (i.e. it’ll be OK…don’t be afraid), but I do want to shelter them, somewhat, from what might happen. How much to tell and how much not to say is a really tough decision.

  2. Thunder can be very scary. I really enjoyed reading this post. I love the words you used to compare life to thunder. A really good read.
    Personally I am terrified of Public speaking! A little bit different than thunder haha

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