Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The Sound of Thunder
The rain started early. By 6:00 pm, it was coming down in sheets. We sat on the front porch watching it pour as the lightning flashed across the sky.
"WHOA!" L.E. exclaimed. "Did you hear that, Mommy?"
I smiled as she clung to me.
Her dad was pulling into the driveway and she tore away from me to hop through the puddles to greet him. She was dripping wet when I finally got her in the house.
Later, after dinner, we were sitting in her bed reading stories when the thunder cracked loud enough that the windows rattled. L.E.'s eyes were wide as I finished up the book about dragons and tacos. "Mommy, can the thunder hurt me?"
"Of course not," I replied. "It will stop really soon, OK?" I kissed her cheek and gave her one more hug as I said good-night.
Outside, the storm raged on. I couldn't remember a time that a thunderstorm lasted over four hours but there appeared to be no sign of it abating. Every lightning surge left me on pins and needles as I waited for the inevitable roar of thunder. Deep confession here: I hate thunderstorms. I have been terrified of them since I was a little girl. With every loud thunderclap, I remembered vividly hiding under the sheets in my room at the house I grew up in. I couldn't sleep as long as the lightning flashed.
After a particularly loud thundering, I crept to L.E.'s room to see if she was asleep. Her eyes were as wide-open as they had been during story-time. "I'm really scared, Mom."
I crawled into bed with her and held her to me. I didn't want to dwell on the storm so I started talking."When you were a little baby," I began, "We were visiting G.G. in Pittsburgh. There was such a loud thunderstorm that I was terrified you were going to wake up. You had fallen asleep in my arms and I was holding you tight as I tried not to jump every time the thunder clapped. You slept through the whole storm."
L.E. was quiet. Then she asked, "Are you afraid of thunder, Mommy?"
"Yes, sweetie, I am. But I know that as long as we're together, it can't hurt us."
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. I hugged her close as the storm surged on. I have no idea how our power stayed on but her nightlight barely even gave a flicker.
I thought about how lucky I am to have this amazing little person in my arms. As she gets older and more independent, I struggle with the notion that she'll no longer need me some day. But we're a ways off from that.
I thought about that night in Pittsburgh. I couldn't bury my head under the covers because I was a new mom at the beck and call of a little baby who didn't know where she was or who I was. I trembled in fear that I wasn't going be a good mom. How could I take care of another human being when I couldn't handle a summer storm without having a meltdown. I cried quietly as the lightning persisted long after the thunder faded away. All I wanted that night was somebody to hold me tight and tell me that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Four years later, I held my little girl in my arms. I could feel her heart beating against my chest as I watched her eyelids flutter. I kissed the top of her head and whispered, "There's nothing to be afraid of. I'm here and I'm not going to let anything happen to you."