Monday night we were hit by a ferocious thunderstorm of Nothing-like proportions. We were expecting bad, and bad we got, but thankfully not the tornadoes and hail that San Antonio received just south of us.
I’m not scared of thunderstorms; in fact I rather love them at night. But the twisters in San Antonio made me nervous, and I lay awake, listening to the constant rolling thunder and keeping my ears open for the tell tale freight train sounds that everyone describes to accompany a tornado.
I got up and peeked out the window at the sheets of rain.
I checked on the kids. Nothing. Sound asleep. Unbelievable.
I settled back into my bed and eventually started to doze, until CLAP! A horrifying crack of thunder made me jump off my pillow, literally gasping for air as if awaking from a nightmare. Christian held me tight, but I still tensed up at every flash of lightening, knowing another burst of thunder was right behind it.
I knew it was bound to happen that the massive thunder would wake one of the kids, and it wasn’t long before I heard it.
I jumped out of bed and tore across the house to find Claire sitting up in her bed, cross legged and teary eyed.
“Hey, sweetie. What’s wrong?”
“The funder woke me up.”
“I know, I’m sorry. It’s loud, isn’t it?”
I knelt by her bed and put my hand on her knee.
“Can you make it stop?”
My heart sank. “No, honey, I can’t make it stop. But I can lay here with you so you won’t be scared.”
I settled on the floor with my head resting on the mattress of her low toddler bed, rubbing her back and stroking her hair. Her sweet brown eyes studied my own, and she lovingly rested her warm hand on my cheek. Even though I had to put on a brave face for her, I was thankful to share my tension and fear of the storm with someone.
Can you make it stop, Mommy?
I never really realized how painful even the simplest questions could be from my kids. In her innocent, four year old eyes, I just might have it in my power to make the thunder stop. But I couldn’t. And in the coming many years, there will be a lot of things I can’t stop, things I can’t protect her from.
A broken bone, a broken heart, a lost friendship, a ruined relationship.
The teasing and hurt feelings that come with kids learning the social ropes as they grow.
Not getting invited to that party, not getting that part in the school play or not making the cut for the volleyball team.
A car accident, an illness, the loss of a loved one.
Add to all that the danger, predators, mean girls, and future drunk frat boys, and oh my God I’m locking her in a tower for the rest of her life so nothing will ever hurt her.
I felt helpless. I couldn’t even stop the thunder. All I could do was lay there with her and ease her fears, giving her comfort in my presence.
I watched her sleepy eyes open every few minutes to check on me. “I’m still here,” I whispered.
I’m not sure how long I stayed. I drifted off myself and woke up with a cramped shoulder from my odd position.
She was sound asleep. I eased myself up from the floor and gave her one last glance as I headed back to my own bed.
But a part of me stayed with her that night, and her with me. I can’t always make the bad or scary things stop, but I can continue to be there for her, physically and emotionally, cushioning the impact they have on her, taking some of the blow it she’ll let me.
And oh, I hope she lets me.