My great-grandmother, a tiny bird of a woman who was nevertheless made of surviving-the-war strength, was afraid of thunder. Because she did not want her children to shake with fear as she did during thunderstorms, even from the deep sleep of night she took their hands and led them to the windows to watch the lightning slash the sky.
“Watch,” she would tell them. “Isn’t is glorious?” Swallowing the fear in her throat, she smiled for her children so they would grow up braver than she.
Was it her legacy that led me outside during storms? Perhaps. Even as a small child I never felt fear when the dark clouds closed over the sky. I reveled in the electrical air, watched for the next lightning flash to crack into life, curled on the old musty porch swing and soaked in the rush & cool & currents & rumble. I loved the lull when it was done. Loved inhaling the wet, cool air, the gritty smell of rain-washed cement after heat.
Growing up in Eastern Canada where the humidity collected in the crooks of the St Laurence, thunderstorms were a part of my childhood. Now, having made my life on the opposite coast, sudden summer storms are a rarity. I take my daughter’s hand and watch with wonder when the occasional thundercloud rolls around but without the constant exposure I knew, she remains unconvinced. Such tempers from our moderate climate make her wary.
Attempting my great-grandmother’s trick without the help of summer storms, I bought Thunder Cake by Particia Polacco. A deceptively simple story, it is about learning to ride out a thunderstorm with a clever grandma at its heart and the sweetness of cake at the end.
When you hear a storm coming in low and fierce, gather your children close. Whisper stories of pirates at sea, count the spaces between thunderclaps, watch the sky roll and fold your babes safe in your arms. Rock them to sleep in the quiet after the rain has washed the skies clean and teach them, with thunderstorm lullabies, to find calm in the midst of the gale.
This is an original post by EarnestGirl for CanadaMomsBlog. You can find her further musings on motherhood at The West Coast Chronicles for TheYummyMummyClub
The picture above is attributed to freeparking from Flicker's Creative Commons.