Mother Nature is a heartless wench who will turn your own children against you

When I was a little boy, and thunder rumbled in the distance, my mother would react as though the approaching storm was an Afghani mortar attack instead of a minor weather event. Because of this, I spent much of my childhood reacting to thunderstorms in a similarly panicked fashion.

When my mother was a little girl, and thunder rumbled in the distance, her parents presumably reacted calmly … until that one time when the electricity went out during a storm, and they sent her to get from her upstairs bedroom something to play with, and she opened the door at the bottom of the staircase, and looked up to see that the second floor was engulfed in flames … because lightning had struck the house.

So she gets a pass.

Fortunately, by the time I became a parent, I had learned not only to not panic over the arrival of an electrical storm, but to rather enjoy it. And when the sound of thunder caused my own young children to react in an understandably fearful manner, my wife and I would calmly reassure them that there was nothing to be afraid of.

Let us travel back in time, shall we? Destination: The kitchen of our former home in Massachusetts, June of last year. The sky is dark, the lightning is flashing, the thunder is rumbling, and the rain has suddenly begun to come down in torrents.

We see Wonder Woman standing beside the kitchen table with the then-4-year-old Jayna in her arms and the then-6-year-old Zan by her side. They have been startled by a particularly loud crack of thunder that seemed to emanate from directly above their home.

“Wow, that sure was loud!” says Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy. “Mother Nature is rocking out, huh guys?”

The children nod nervously, and clearly aren’t buying into Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy’s bullshit.

Happy Smiley Reassuring Daddy walks around the kitchen table so that he can close the adjacent window.

“Look, guys, I know that’s a scary sound, but there really isn’t anything to be afraid of,” he says as he reaches up and places his hands on the lower window sash. “Mommy and Daddy are right here with you, and we’re all perfectly s—

BA-BOOM!

Holy. Shit.

Let us survey the damage.

Daddy Scratches Weather Tip™: Lightning doesn't give a shit about your driveway.

The Piece Of Wood Formerly Known As Part Of The Fence Post Adjacent To The Big-Ass Hole Blown In The Driveway, The Twig Previously Known As Part Of The Tree That Overhangs The Driveway, and The Many Chunks Of Asphalt Previously Known As Part Of The Driveway

Beware big-ass flying chunks of driveway.
(Basketball and beach ball included for scale.)
(Shitty lawn included to remind me of how much I don't miss our old yard.)

Mercifully small pieces of asphalt that covered my car, which suffered no damage despite being four feet away from the big-ass hole blown in my driveway.
BY LIGHTNING.

Needless to say, my credibility became suspect … and Jayna’s fear of thunderstorms was exponentially multiplied.

The extent of her post-traumatic stress became fully evident this summer, when a multi-night string of thunderstorms threw her into a multi-night state of panic about being alone in her bed. Suddenly, bedtime morphed from a pleasant little ritual to a 90-minute-long, screaming-and-crying-filled test of wills.

Strangely, she seemed unmoved by my assurances that it was just a loud noise, and that nothing bad could happen. It was as though she had an overwhelming reason to doubt me.

The thunderstorm-induced bedtime brouhaha continued unabated on non-stormy evenings, and nary a night passed when Jayna didn’t wake multiple times screaming “MOMMY! MOMMY!” (Apparently, she wasn’t interested in being comforted by DADDY WHO LIES ABOUT THE DANGERS OF LIGHTNING.)

This went on all summer. In fact, only just this week has she started to go to sleep at night without first impersonating a crystal-meth-addicted Tasmanian Devil.

With any luck, she’ll get over it before having children of her own. If not, my attempt to break the cycle will have failed. And I’m not good with failure.

Incidentally, I also am not good with being made to look like a deceitful, untrustworthy asshole in front of my children. So thanks for that, Mother Nature. You bitch.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted October 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! I’d be scared too, ha! That is crazy!

    Doesn’t this put the “odds” in your favor, like aren’t you more likely to win the lottery now? After (almost) being struck by lightning? Or something? ;-)

  2. Posted October 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Hey D.S., Maybe you use your
    Powder
    -like electricity channeling superpowers to close the window on the piece of crap amateur-remodeled, now empty house on our corner. My husband and I have been praying for a couple of years for it to get struck by lightning.
    Heidi H´s most recent blog post: I Like: Creative Writing #1My Profile

  3. Posted October 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh my hell! That was too funny…..er, I mean I’m sorry that Mother Nature made you look like a liar to your children.
    Gigi´s most recent blog post: How to make a Big Boy’s birthday celebration specialMy Profile

  4. Melanie
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That’s crazy!

    My kids are terrified of storms as well. We taught them to sing “Thunder!” plus the guitar riff after that like they’re the littlest members of AC/DC. I got some strange looks in Target when they did that during a storm. Parenting at it’s finest!

  5. Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Yikes! I like and even look forward to thunderstorms and even I would be freaked out if lightning blew a hole in my DRIVEWAY. It would probably also break me of the habit of standing on the front step trying to take photos of the lightning during storms.
    Carol Anne´s most recent blog post: TV Tonight — WednesdayMy Profile

  6. Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    –>Holy Shit! We had a storm come through last Wednesday and knocked out power and flooded our street. If I had been looking out the back window, I would have swore that lightning hit our pool. It was CRAZY loud.

    deb
    WebSavvyMom´s most recent blog post: Trying to Fit InMy Profile

  7. LindaSalem
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    My mom was like this too -way over the top. I’m surprised my husband doesn’t have issues. His mom was struck and killed by lightning when he was two. (I’d keep this response from Jayna, by the way.) Anyway, hubby-honey is fine with storms too. Probably because we don’t get too many loud storms in Oregon. (His mom’s accident happened on Oklahoma.)

  8. NancyH
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Melanie, what a great image, i love it!!!

    DS, Yipes!! That’s a tough lesson even for grownups.. the world is *mostly* safe but there are some scary things you just can’t do anything to avoid.

  9. Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I bet this also ruined your “Big boys only go potty in the toilet!” admonition, too, right?
    the muskrat´s most recent blog post: when the cat’s away, the mice fuck upMy Profile

  10. Posted October 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Great post. They say lightning never strikes twice but maybe it skips a generation.
    Jennie Jackson´s most recent blog post: And that’s why I wear comfortable shoes…My Profile

  11. Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    My parents were never really scared of storms, but my brother and I were pretty sure we were going to die every time we heard thunder or saw lightning. For me, it lasted into my 20’s before slowly fading away. Now, I love storms, especially trying to get photos of the lightning. Unfortunately, my brother wasn’t so lucky. At 28, he freaks if water falls from the sky….like bad. It’s actually quite sad.

    And on mother nature making you look like an asshole to your children? Just wait till they’re in their teens…..you can be nice to a teenager and they somehow manage to still see you as an asshole.
    Brandina´s most recent blog post: Thirsty For Comments ThursdayMy Profile

  12. Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    I grew up in Kansas so we just teach our kids to tap their heels together and say “There’s no place like home” over and over whenever the weather gets dicey.

    Actually, they just seem to ignore it, or sleep through it. We once had hail break windows and tear up our roof, and they were fairly disinterested in the whole affair. They must either assume we (the adults) have it under control, or that they’re invincible. Unlearning both of those fallacies will be a hard landing some day. But for now, I’ll take it.
    Team Suzanne´s most recent blog post: How to play it right at HalloweenMy Profile

  13. Catherine McP
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    When bad weather came rumbling across the lake from our house, and the trees were bending to the ground, I made my 2 daughters sit on the porch with me! All the while me saying “wow, cool, look at that, did you hear that one?” and when we were soaking wet I brought them in..but half the time I was thinking, making we should be in the basement! I love storms, and now as adults, so do they!

  14. Amy
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure Mother Nature does it on purpose, FYI. She’s always been a b****, trying to undermine my credibility. If you can think of an appropriate revenge plot, I’m in. I’ve exhausted all my own plot ideas for revenge – she usually has the last laugh…
    Amy´s most recent blog post: The Right PathMy Profile

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