Everyone loves summer.
As July has reared its hot and muggy head here in the beautiful state of Georgia, the pattern of afternoon thunderstorms is beginning to emerge. Nearly every day, we can count on some sort of monumental electrifying storm with rumbling thunder and clouds that shake the house to suddenly chase us indoors.
Of course, as the dangerous storms begin to scatter across the state – the television and radio become a constant reminder of the lurking danger of these storms. Warnings to take cover and seek shelter, along with the occasional tornado sirens going off in the distance cause my children several hours of anxiety.
Making matters worse is the pulsing of electricity in our home. And God forbid we are in the car during one of these storms with lightning cracking around us and rain so heavy that I become completely blind on the road.
It’s strange, but all of my children are terrified of storms. They don’t necessarily worry about dark rooms, and have never thought that there was a monster living under their bed. Yet, when it comes to storms they become frantic and nervous, huddled up next to me on the couch looking for constant reassurance that everything will be okay.
A month or so back when deadly tornados went on a rampage within miles of our home, the kids and I had to seek shelter at my in-laws house – taking a quick dash across the yard to hunker down in their completely brick home. From the inside of the house, we were able to see the funnel clouds whisking by and experienced the bone chilling ‘calm before the storm’ where the world seemed completely hushed of sound and void of air or movement. My children were panicked despite my efforts to keep them calm.
The next day, with sun shining as we carried on about our day, we saw firsthand the horrific damage that these storms can bring.
The sad and frustrating thing is that I cannot find the perfect words or explanation to put my kids’ minds at ease when it comes to these storms. The days of telling them that thunder is just God bowling are over, and my children are fully aware of the potential dangers that come with summer storms.
As soon as I hear of a severe storm coming our way, the kids and I walk the perimeter of our house with saltshakers in the hopes that some folkloric magic will help keep us safe. And while I don’t imagine that salt is any real competition for a summer storm, it seems to help my kids. We say a prayer, not just for ourselves, but also for everyone – that the storm will spit and sputter among the forest and trees rather than around people’s houses. And then, I try to start talking about something funny, or light. I try to point out how beautiful the storm is – how powerful Mother Nature can be.
In other words, I improvise as much as possible, bite my lip, try to remain calm, and hug my babies until the storm passes.
Are your children afraid of powerful summer storms? What are some things you do to help ease their fears?