The Night the Thunder Went Boom

Last night, the heavens opened up over our little cottage, roiling Lake Michigan into big scary swirls. In the very-dark, thunder crashed, banged and cracked overhead.

I woke sometime in the night, wondering who would find their way to me for comfort in the storm. I lay awake a long time until my eldest – not the one I had expected – appeared beside my bed, concerned about open windows and unable to pull them shut.

I elbowed Dan to get up and close all windows for the kids, and Asher crawled under the blanket beside me. We snuggled for a while and I reassured him in silence, until he felt secure enough to venture back to his own bed.

Still, the silence was deafening between the thunder claps, and I wondered if my littlest one wouldn’t even blink an eye open in the major sounds of the storm. I waited. And waited. And finally, crawling toward morning, Shaya appeared, scared by the storm. I only too happily beckoned him to sleep beside me.

In the morning, I felt a little guilty, wanting to be needed by my children in the eye of a scary storm. On the one hand, the goal of a parent is to empower a child so that eventually, he can face even the scariest storms with strength and independence.

And yet, the very definition of parent suggests to be needed. For so many years, I have been clung to and tapped on the shoulder, called in the night, cried over when away for a while.

It’s not that I want my children to be tear-riddled in my absence. Goodness, no! I want strong, stable, independent offspring who take wing when they are ready.

It’s just…happening so fast. One night, they laughed with their cousins on the porch, me listening from inside the screen door. A few nights later, a storm comes and they can weather it alone.

Pat on the back for doing a good job. Pat on the back of comfort as the babies leave the nest.

In this life, we are constantly redefining our purpose and goals. I’m almost tempted to write a vision statement for my life, a living breathing document that I can turn to, erase and write over when necessary, but a road map to guide me so I don’t come upon a hairpin turn and gasp for breath as I feel my way around it.

When I first woke to meditate on the back porch, the air was heavy with late-night-rain and still in the silence of a post-storm peace. I couldn’t tell what the day would be like, how it would unfold.

I went to yoga, settled into the peace of the wood slat floor and brick walls. By the time we made it to breakfast as a family, all the kids gathered around me, the sun had come out fully and the day curled its smiling finger in the most unexpected way.

Of course, the day is perfect. What else could I expect?

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