Thunderstorms and Children

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Today, it’s my pleasure to turn the reins over to a guest blogger, the fabulous Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson. Renée is one of the funniest people I know, and a great, supportive friend as well. She calls her blog “Teachers and Twits,” but she’s much more teacher than twit.

When my son was still wrapped up like a burrito, every time there was a thunderstorm, I carried him outside to the worn wooden bench perched on our front stoop, and, together, we sat and listened to the boomers.

As my burrito grew, he morphed into my l’il Monkey. Whenever we heard thunder or saw that first flick of lightning, we raced to the front door. He’d mastered deadbolts by then, and he turned the knob furiously as if the ice-cream truck were sitting in our driveway. Once outside, we piled on the old bench — my son sat on my lap, holding my hand with a combination of anticipation and fear while I counted: “One-one-thousand, -one-thousand, three-one-thousand…” And when the world shook, we laughed and he begged for another so we waited impatiently for the next thunder-clap to shake our world.

For years we watched the skies darken, the clouds quicken, felt the air grow heavy on our skin. We listened to water slap our sidewalk angrily, and we both came to see how it works: how storms can be furious and yet temporary. He learned that even the scariest storms pass.

I know children who are terrified of thunder and lightning – kids who put their hands over their ears and cry or hide, but my son was raised up on late May storms: flashes of light and all that racket.

Maybe it’s because we imagined G-d taking a shower.

{The way my Monkey was starting to take showers.}

Maybe it’s because we imagined G-d needed to fill up the oceans.

{The way my Monkey was starting to have responsibilities.}

Maybe it’s because he imagined G-d stomping around looking for something He had misplaced.

{The way Monkey misplaced things and got all stompy and frustrated.}

Maybe it’s because he liked talking about G-d and trying to relate to Him.

“G-d makes rain. And rain makes the world grow, Mommy!” l’il Monkey told me as he stared at the yellow lilies, thirsty for a drink.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that with each summer storm, my summer-son was getting “growed up” too.

One May, I saw my son needed a new raincoat and boots for puddle stomping.

“I don’t need a coat. Or boots,” Monkey said as a matter-of-fact.

And he ran out into the downpour.

Unprotected.

Now I’m not saying it’s smart to go outside and run around on a lawn during an electrical storm, I’m just saying that we did. Okay?

We made up goofy dances, sang ridiculous songs, and chased each other around the yard in our bare feet until we were mud-spattered and drenched.

These days my little burrito is 12 years old.

Come summer, he will be 13.

These days, we live in a different house with a less inviting front stoop, so we don’t really do the thunderstorm thing anymore.

One day, when I am an old woman and I hear the distant clatter of thunder, I will remember tiny yellow rain coats and tiny yellow rain-boots. I may not remember much else, but I will remember those little moments — perhaps as one long blurry moment — when the world turned chocolate pudding and everything was positively puddle wonderful.

What do you remember about thunderstorms? What little moments do you cherish?

A teacher for 20 years, Renée is also the mother to one middle-school aged son, who was adamant that she call him Monkey (for the purposes of blogging) and then he grew up and demanded she call him something else. Renée is 80K words into her fiction manuscript. She hopes when it is finally published, that that sense of accomplishment will quiet the muse who hollers in her ears and tells her to get back to her computer and write. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Renée can be found dancing on tables. Or not.

On Twitter she’s @RASJacobson.

Or follow her on Facebook

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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31 Responses to Thunderstorms and Children

  1. Jenny Hansen says:

    I LOVE thunderstorms, with lightning walking across the sky and the air snapping. We don’t really get them here in California, but when I’m in Missouri with family, I try to watch them if i can. 🙂

    Like

  2. Thanks, David, for sharing this delightful blog. It’s wonderful hearing of a mother who taught her child to love the natural world and not cower in fear.

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Myra. I do love nature. If my legacy is to have taught my son to love and appreciate nature, I think I can be satisfied with that legacy. He loves to go camping, and neither of us is afraid of getting dirt under our fingernails! 😉

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  3. Pingback: Border Crossing « David N Walker – Where the Heart Is

  4. Thanks for visiting my page, Renee. Lovely piece.

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    • Karlene says:

      Renee, I did 32 revisions…. trust me, I know. Finishing the draft it huge. You’re almost there. Yes… each moment is a blessing.
      XOX Karlene

      Like

  5. What sweet memories you hold in your hands. There is something magical in a thunderstorm, isn’t there? And little boys.

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  6. Lovely to see you here! I remember waking up in the middle of the night, sitting at the kitchen table, watching my the thunderstorm. As we were grain farmers, Dad would always say, “That’s a $10,000 rain.” Sometimes it was 10K to the good, other times the bad. Either way, rain was money.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    • Hi Shirtsleeves! Thank you for following me here. I can picture you, sitting at the kitchen table with your parents, playing cards, listening to the rain. Back when Tech was a wee Monkey, those rainstorms felt priceless.

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  7. Tamára says:

    Precious. xo

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  8. Emma says:

    I love rain, thunder and lightning. There’s something magical about that kind of weather, or maybe that’s just me? 🙂

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    • Hi Emma! Not just you! I love love love that kind of weather. In fact, *whispering* when I went to overnight camp, we used to strip off all our clothes and take showers outside. It. Was. The. Best.

      Don’t tell anyone. 😉

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  9. Jess Witkins says:

    I’m almost headed out for work, and now I’m all teary eyed! Such sweet memories. Reminds me of sitting on our own front porch with my siblings and dad watching the rain pelt down and flood the street. Years later, I ran puddle jumping in the storm with friends while my mom scowled and handed us towels as we came back in. And last year, my honey and I sat our steps and dared each other to run down the walk and dance in the biggest puddle for 20 seconds and then run back.

    I think storms make people do crazy fun things. Thanks for the story today, Renee! And a what perfect place for it at David’s!

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  10. Pam says:

    Renee – my favorite part “when the world turned chocolate pudding” great piece. Thanks for making me smile and my eyes water simultaneously. Happy Mother’s Day!

    Up until the age 6 or 7 my sister says my eyes turned blue from green everytime it rained.

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  11. This is beautiful, Renee. It makes me want to curl up with my own burritos but they are too big to fit on my lap now (although my daughter still tries every once in a while).

    I love your boy’s fearlessness, your interpretations of the elements of a thunderstorm.

    This post is a metaphor unto itself.
    And I can’t wait to read your book…

    XO

    Like

  12. Lisa Stech says:

    I still take my kids out in the storms to dance, even the 24 year old would go out with me 😉

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  13. Frume Sarah says:

    Oh wow — I love this. Every part of it. I love how you incorporated Monkey’s milestones. I love how you brought God into the experience. And I love the image of you looking back on the precious moments.

    Like

  14. Karlene says:

    Thank you David for sharing a beautiful women who has the ability to connect the power of a thunderstorm and the growth of her child. The analogies throughout life, with the weather… rain, thunder, lightening, and all that our little one’s face growing up… are fabulous. Her talent to write with the visual by showing is spectacular. And storms are born and they grow. But among all things in life, the best part is that the storm does pass… in correlation with our troubles. But the sad thing about a storm, is that we pass too. Perhaps the hidden message is to enjoy every storm in your life, before they all pass.
    Rene, you are a talented writer. I’m looking forward to reading your book. 80,000 words! Congratulations… you are so close. Then the work begins.
    XO Karlene

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    • Hi Karlene! So nice to meet you. I really hard to find something wonderful in each day. While most people hide during rainstorms, we try to revel in them and instead of complaining about all we can’t do we try to appreciate what we CAN do. ANd you are right, we all need to appreciate the little moments in our lives before they pass. Because time dos move quickly, doesn’t it?

      And yes! I am at 80K. But you sure are right, I’m nowhere close to finished. This is draft 1.

      Sigh.

      Like

  15. gojulesgo says:

    A beautiful guest post, Renee! I loved the line, “when the world turned chocolate pudding” (but I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you, LOL)! The thing I love about thunderstorms (aside from imagining angels bowling) is that it forces you to get cozy inside. To me it signifies, for some reason, that it’s suddenly okay to turn the world off and put on a movie!

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  16. ermigal says:

    Lovely piece, Renee-such nice memories and lessons to be learned from them while growing up…I love thunderstorms and remember me and the gang hangin’ out in the garage watching thru the giant screens.Thanks for the story, I’ll be mulling it over for awhile!

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