There were tremendous thunderstorms this evening and I sat in our sunroom working on an article, occasionally looking up to see the roiling black sky suddenly illuminate with a dramatic bolt of lightning. The tornado sirens were wailing, and my son was distressed: he is fascinated by natural phenomena, and he's terrified. He sought reassurance that a tornado was not going to rip apart our home and I tried my best. I told him that tornadoes like to form in rural areas, like where his dad grew up, where there's lots of space between buildings for it to bounce around and build up strength, not in our urban landscape of towering, solid buildings rubbing shoulders together. Cities are not fun for tornadoes, I told him. Mostly I was glad that John was home to deflect this to tonight. Ultimately, my son must have believed us that he was safe because he settled into just being mildly piqued by the whole thing.
I remember what it was like to seek reassurance from my parents during troubling times and, for the most part, come up empty. As a parent, one who seeks to leave the ghosts of my childhood traumas behind, I am often torn between wanting to provide my son with an iron-clad assurance that we will shield him no matter what fire-breathing dragons appear at our doorstep, and the knowledge that this is impossible. I would do anything for my child, but I simply cannot control if thunderstorms turn into tornadoes. All I can do is my very best if a nightmare should materialize.
Tonight, I am grateful for my home, the warmth of my family, the safety I enjoy that's so rare in this world. My thoughts are with those who do not share these privileges and who are so vulnerable to the storms of the world.