I have very vivid memories of thunderstorms from growing up in the midwest. The sky always turned an eerie colour, the winds changed and the air even smelled different. If a storm occurred during the day, we would go about our normal business, stopping only to be amazed by the brilliant flashes of lightning and the enormous almost earth-shaking booms of thunder. But if a storm happened at night, well, that was a different story. With the darkness, came fear or those brilliant flashes and loud booms. I remember laying in my bed, covers pulled tightly to my chin, my pillow draped over my eyes and surrounded by stuffed animals as the thunderstorm raged with full force. And, on those nights, when the pillow, blankets and stuffed animals were not enough to soothe me, the only thing that did work, was to make my way to my mom’s bed and the safety she offered. The problem there was that I had to get from my room, through the connecting bathroom to her room. Normally this would be no problem, but during a storm, it presented a huge problem. I had to figure out how exactly to get out of my bed and into her bed between cracks of thunder. I remember laying there thinking, “Okay, now! Go!” but I had waited just one moment too long or the storm was too bad and there was another crash and I had missed my opportunity. Then, just as if by luck, I would throw the covers back, grab my pillow and a stuffed animal or two and make the mad dash to my mom’s bed where she would put her arm around me and all my fears of the storm would fade into a deep sleep.
Thunderstorms are a common weather event here. I cannot even count how many evenings I have stayed awake watching the lightening streak the sky and light up the city. The fear I once had is now gone and what is left now is fascination. I am amazed by the power and force of the storm. How it commands attention and lures you into its web. I made a decision that I was not going to allow my sons to fear the storm as I did when I was younger. Instead, I was going to instil in them that fascination and awe that I now have. So, on nights when the skies are lighting up, we cuddle up in bed, turn off the lights and watch the light show. We high five at the really big ones and boo and hiss when we miss seeing a big strike or one is hidden behind a nearby skyscraper. We talk about each strike as if it is a friend and I answer each one of their questions as best I can.
My sons are now just as intrigued by the storms as I am and I am so pleased. This time together is like a secret we share and I cherish that time so much. As I watch them watch the storm, listen to the stories they have to tell and answer their questions, I envision them grown up with a child (or two) cuddled up in bed enjoying the amazing light show that nature has to offer.
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There was another huge storm today. The day began with blue skies and comfortable temperatures, but as the day progressed, the temperature dropped, the blue skies disappeared and cold, grey clouds moved in. As we walked home from school with the rain just beginning to fall, we decided that today was the perfect day to make a Thundercake. The recipe for Thundercake comes from Patricia Polacco’s book by the same title. It is a wonderful story of a young girlwho is afraid of thunderstorms. Her grandmother knows of her granddaughter’s fear and asks her to help her make a Thundercake to distract her from the storm. The ingredients have to be gathered, the batter prepared and the cake has to be in the oven before the storm arrives. The grandmother’s plan works, the girl learns not to fear the storm and they enjoy the cake as the thunder rumbles above.
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