I got off the bus at a neighborhood daycare when I was in first grade. I was a chubby, clumsy little girl. I was afraid of the big kids on the bus, but never told my parents that. I stayed with a lady in our neighborhood who had a dozen or so kids she took care of. She watched a soap about vampires. The kids all were allowed to watch it too--by her, not our parents. I had nightmares about vampires quite often which confused my parents, I'm sure. I was also terrified of storms. Every time there was a hurricane, my grandparents would come up from Louisiana -- just outside New Orleans. The adults would always watch the weather and talk about hurricanes and the tornadoes that we would get as a result of the Gulf storms.
I was so afraid that I would get a box, fill it with my favorite canned goods, gather my dolls and my box of treasures, and hide in my closet. I remember sitting in there for hours terrified that we'd all die. Or that my parents would die and leave me alone.
I recently went in to check on my six year old and found him under his train table. It was stormy and he woke up afraid. I crawled under the table and put my arms around him. As I held him in my arms, I told him everything would be okay. I assured him we were safe and the storm was only a lot of noise and lights, kind of like fireworks. We climbed out from under the table. I sat on him bed and held him in my lap, all too conscious that in a few years he wouldn't want me to hold him. As I looked down at his sweet little face, I was overcome with love. I hoped that he was comforted by my words. I hoped that 40 years from now he wouldn't remember the fear, only the comfort. I laid him down and covered him up. As I leaned down to kiss him softly on the forehead, he smiled. What a beautiful child.