Monday, September 18, 2006

Bunder (Sydney-speak for Thunder)

Amy and I have always loved thunderstorms. Maybe it's the promise of rain, particularly in the summer when things are dry. Maybe it's the display of the raw power of God's creation. Whatever the reason, we love to go out on the front porch to watch and listen as they approach.

During the first twelve months after coming home with Sydney, we had a few opportunities to enjoy thunderstorms. Some of them were real doozies, and it amazed us that Sydney slept blissfully through them no matter how loud the thunder. That changed a few months ago when Sydney awoke from her nap just as a thunderstorm was beginning to make itself known at our house. She had been awake for a few minutes but was still in her bed when a loud clap of thunder shook the house and she started crying and screaming out of fear. We went immediately to calm her down and get her out of bed, but ever since then, she has been deathly afraid of thunder. Whether we are driving, playing at home, eating, or sleeping, if she hears thunder she will start to cry out of fear of the loud noise. The other day her nap lasted no more than 5 minutes because a thunderstorm was approaching. Yesterday, she awoke especially early due to thunder, and her nap was again way too short because there was more thunder lingering in the afternoon.

All of a sudden, one of our favorite occurrences has turned into something we dread for Sydney's sake. There is a silver lining, though, to these clouds.

The other night I had the privilege of sitting next to Sydney's bed and holding her hand during a thunderstorm so she could drift off to sleep. Every few seconds a clap of thunder would make her open her sleepy eyes and make sure I was still there. She would squeeze my hand, close her eyes, and drift back to sleep. I sat there long enough to be sure she was into a deep sleep before I got up and left, and that half hour was priceless. Since then, when thunder wakes her up, we hear her cry and call "Daddy!" I get to go in and quiet her down and assure her that everything is ok. Two nights ago, even with no thunder, she started to cry when I got up to leave the room after putting her to bed. She told me she wanted me to stay by her bed. That was largely due to exhaustion, and I did leave the room after quieting her back down, but not without a warm glow to go with the knowledge that she finds comfort in me.

I pray that her fear of thunder eases in time, but I'm so thankful for the effect it is having on our relationship.