The storm was fierce. Lightning violently slashed the night sky, hail beat the windows a deafening staccato drowning out even the sound of thought. Wind howled, bending the trees as if they were made of rubber. The rain came down in sheets so thick that you could scarcely see your hand in front of you. Listening to the storm in the darkness we huddled together on the sofa. Mom kept saying “It’s not as bad as all that guys. Really it isn't. You are safe and dry in our house. It’s ok to go to sleep. We won’t let anything happen to you.” But I knew that she was wrong. I had seen the constant weather warnings on the tv before the power had gone out. I knew that there was a tornado watch. I knew for sure our house would be picked up and twirled through the sky Wizard of Oz style. Heck I could barely tolerate the munchkins once a year when we watched the movie as a family on Thanksgiving. No way was I going to be able to take actually meeting them. If my house had to land in some other reality it had better be somewhere cool like an alien planet in Star Trek. Now that would be awesome!! No little munchkins with squeaky voices, carrying lollipops for me. No sir!! Give me an orange alien with a laser gun any day. Yeah that would be way cooler……..
So this is a slightly dramatized version of what our night was like last night. North Texas weather in the spring is unpredictable at times. You can start the day sunny and warm only to end the night with fierce thunderstorms, golf ball sized hail and tornado warnings. This season doesn’t last long and leads to a fantastically hot and beautiful summer. However on nights like last night my boys tend to freak out a bit. Ok let me be honest here they freak out A LOT!! No matter how any times that I reassure them we are safe in our house. No matter how many times we survive the night. The moment the weather warnings start popping up on the tv visions of terror fill them. This is not particular to my boys at all. I know many moms who are up with their little ones as the storms pound the windows. But like everything else autism amplifies this reaction. One of the traits of Aspies in particular is the need to acquire knowledge of ever thing but in particular the things they fear. This gives them a sense of control in the midst of the uncontrollable. So when a storm hits my sons Paul and Alex have wellsprings of terrible knowledge to draw from. I doubt there is a book on tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, Tsunamis, lightning strikes, or freak alien abductions (gottcha ;-) in their school library that they have not read. Being the little professors they are they then decide to enlighten the rest of their brothers on every worst case scenario imaginable and I am left with five scared little boys. I have found the best way to handle them is just to change their focus. I sing songs until I’m hoarse, we tell each other stories (with the stipulation that they cannot be scary nor have anything to do with the weather ;) and then when it is all over they go back to bed. Luckily these storms move pretty quickly. I can only sing so many songs before my voice gives out.
Last night we still had company when the storm hit. Usarian stayed downstairs talking with our guest while I was upstairs giving a concert that included such hits as The Winnie the Pooh song (I think I may have to lose this one from my act….I was told in no uncertain terms they are way too old for that now) and Never Smile at a Crocodile and we cannot forget the ever popular Sponge Bob theme song. I felt more than a little foolish to know that my not so great voice was being over heard by company. I felt a little embarrassed to have an outsider over hear the hoops I jump through to achieve normalcy to be painfully honest. Just when I thought I had overcome that awkward feeling it pops up at the most unexpected times. I had to step back and remind myself of the important things. Jamie falling peacefully asleep on my lap as I stroked his hair and sang, Paul telling a silly, funny story to his brothers instead of being frozen in fear, Benny falling asleep in the midst of it all, the sound of giggles instead the sound of tears. Suddenly my feelings of foolishness and embarrassment seemed so small.
Well I’m off for the day. Mt Washmore has now dwarfed Mt Everest. I’ve considered offering climbing expeditions instead but alas my family needs clean clothes. Have a great week friends.