The sky was dark, not even a glimmer of dawn forcing its way through the storm clouds that smothered the eastern horizon. The bedroom windows were open, and the sound of driving rain filled my ears as a flash of lightning broke through my sleep. I awoke just in time for the bone-rattling crash of thunder.
I knew she would be awake.
Storms are one of springtime’s nightmares for my daughter, along with bees and not being allowed to play outside from morning till night. I knew there was no way she had slept through that roar. I sat up, stretch, padded to the door. The clock said 5:26.
She was standing in the hallway, Snoopy pajama pants under a princess nightgown. She clutched Bear in the crook of her elbow, her hair was a tangled around her face, and her eyes were sleepy but wide. I don’t like that thunder, Mommy.
I know, I whispered back. You need to go back to your bed, though.
I take her warm hand, and she lets me lead her back to her nest of blankets, stuffed animals, and half-folded clothing. She climbs in, snuggling her head down on her two pillows as another roll of thunder rumbles through the air– quieter this time.
See? My voice is a gentle murmur designed to sooth and send back to dreamland. It’s already passing. No worries.
I take Bear from her, dance him merrily across her face, pull a few likely-looking blankets over her too-long form.
The rain is still falling, and we hear another low growl of thunder. She stiffens a moment, then relaxes, her body stilled in a posture of listening. I listen, too.
Is that– birds singing? Her eyes are wide with the surprise of it. Their soprano melody is counterpointed by the rhythm of the rain, harmonized by the low alto moaning of wind and the deep timpani of thunder.
Yes it is, I whisper, leaning close to her sweet face. They know it’s almost time for Mr. Sun to come up, even though the clouds are hiding him. They don’t stop singing just because of a silly little storm!
She smiles and snuggles a little deeper into her warm nest. Bear cuddles under her chin, and she closes her eyes, listening to the wonder and hope of a stormy morning symphony.