When I was a little boy, and thunder rumbled in the distance, my mother would react as though the approaching storm was an Afghani mortar attack instead of a minor weather event. Because of this, I spent much of my childhood reacting to thunderstorms in a similarly panicked fashion.
When my mother was a little girl, and thunder rumbled in the distance, her parents presumably reacted calmly … until that one time when the electricity went out during a storm, and they sent her to get from her upstairs bedroom something to play with, and she opened the door at the bottom of the staircase, and looked up to see that the second floor was engulfed in flames … because lightning had struck the house.
So she gets a pass.
Fortunately, by the time I became a parent, I had learned not only to not panic over the arrival of an electrical storm, but to rather enjoy it. And when the sound of thunder caused my own young children to react in an understandably fearful manner, my wife and I would calmly reassure them that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Let us travel back in time, shall we? Destination: The kitchen of our former home in Massachusetts, June of last year. The sky is dark, the lightning is flashing, the thunder is rumbling, and the rain has suddenly begun to come down in torrents.
We see my wife standing beside the kitchen table with our then-4-year-old daughter in her arms and our then-6-year-old son by her side. They have been startled by a particularly loud crack of thunder that seemed to emanate from directly above our home.
“Wow, that sure was loud!” says Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy. “Mother Nature is rocking out, huh guys?”
The children nod nervously, and clearly aren’t buying Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy’s bullshit.
Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy walks around the kitchen table so that he can close the adjacent window.
“Look, guys, I know that’s a scary sound, but there really isn’t anything to be afraid of,” he says as he reaches up and places his hands on the lower window sash. “Mommy and Daddy are right here with you, and we’re all perfectly s—
Ho. Lee. Shit.
Let us survey the damage.
Needless to say, my credibility became suspect … and my daughter’s fear of thunderstorms was exponentially multiplied.
The extent of her post-traumatic stress became fully evident this summer, when a multi-night string of thunderstorms threw her into a multi-night state of panic about being alone in her bed. Suddenly, bedtime morphed from a pleasant little ritual to a 90-minute-long, screaming-and-crying-filled test of wills.
Strangely, she seemed unmoved by my assurances that it was just a loud noise, and that nothing bad could happen. It was as though she had an overwhelming reason to doubt me.
Whoa! I’d be scared too, ha! That is crazy!
Doesn’t this put the “odds” in your favor, like aren’t you more likely to win the lottery now? After (almost) being struck by lightning? Or something? 😉
Heidi H says
Hey D.S., Maybe you use your
Powder-like electricity channeling superpowers to close the window on the piece of crap amateur-remodeled, now empty house on our corner. My husband and I have been praying for a couple of years for it to get struck by lightning.
Oh my hell! That was too funny…..er, I mean I’m sorry that Mother Nature made you look like a liar to your children.
Wow! That’s crazy!
My kids are terrified of storms as well. We taught them to sing “Thunder!” plus the guitar riff after that like they’re the littlest members of AC/DC. I got some strange looks in Target when they did that during a storm. Parenting at it’s finest!
Carol Anne says
Yikes! I like and even look forward to thunderstorms and even I would be freaked out if lightning blew a hole in my DRIVEWAY. It would probably also break me of the habit of standing on the front step trying to take photos of the lightning during storms.
–>Holy Shit! We had a storm come through last Wednesday and knocked out power and flooded our street. If I had been looking out the back window, I would have swore that lightning hit our pool. It was CRAZY loud.
My mom was like this too -way over the top. I’m surprised my husband doesn’t have issues. His mom was struck and killed by lightning when he was two. (I’d keep this response from Jayna, by the way.) Anyway, hubby-honey is fine with storms too. Probably because we don’t get too many loud storms in Oregon. (His mom’s accident happened on Oklahoma.)
Melanie, what a great image, i love it!!!
DS, Yipes!! That’s a tough lesson even for grownups.. the world is *mostly* safe but there are some scary things you just can’t do anything to avoid.
the muskrat says
I bet this also ruined your “Big boys only go potty in the toilet!” admonition, too, right?
Jennie Jackson says
Great post. They say lightning never strikes twice but maybe it skips a generation.
My parents were never really scared of storms, but my brother and I were pretty sure we were going to die every time we heard thunder or saw lightning. For me, it lasted into my 20’s before slowly fading away. Now, I love storms, especially trying to get photos of the lightning. Unfortunately, my brother wasn’t so lucky. At 28, he freaks if water falls from the sky….like bad. It’s actually quite sad.
And on mother nature making you look like an asshole to your children? Just wait till they’re in their teens…..you can be nice to a teenager and they somehow manage to still see you as an asshole.
Team Suzanne says
I grew up in Kansas so we just teach our kids to tap their heels together and say “There’s no place like home” over and over whenever the weather gets dicey.
Actually, they just seem to ignore it, or sleep through it. We once had hail break windows and tear up our roof, and they were fairly disinterested in the whole affair. They must either assume we (the adults) have it under control, or that they’re invincible. Unlearning both of those fallacies will be a hard landing some day. But for now, I’ll take it.
Catherine McP says
When bad weather came rumbling across the lake from our house, and the trees were bending to the ground, I made my 2 daughters sit on the porch with me! All the while me saying “wow, cool, look at that, did you hear that one?” and when we were soaking wet I brought them in..but half the time I was thinking, making we should be in the basement! I love storms, and now as adults, so do they!
I’m pretty sure Mother Nature does it on purpose, FYI. She’s always been a b****, trying to undermine my credibility. If you can think of an appropriate revenge plot, I’m in. I’ve exhausted all my own plot ideas for revenge – she usually has the last laugh…