A cloud war

by mssinglemama on June 2, 2010

“What is Thunder, Mama?”

“The clouds are having a war.”


“Because. They just are. Listen.”

“I am listening. But why Mama?”


He stares out of the window above my bed. His shoeless feet are pressing into the foam of my mattress, his nose is squished up against the glass as the rain rattles the metal awning above and out. The storm is raging, tornado sirens are blaring and true to Benjamin form he wants to be in the thick of it all.

“Are the clouds named Jake and Elroy? Are they the Blues Brothers Mama?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“But what are their names?”

A burst of lightning fills my room, I can see his face for a second and then everything falls into darkness again. I’ve turned off the lights, something I do every time there is a massive storm. I’ve always loved storms and can’t imagine experiencing one like this with the lights on.

“I saw the thunder. I saw it Mommy! I saw it!!!”

“That was lightning.”

“What is light-ing-ing?”

“Lightening is…” a clap of thunder interrupts. The storm is too fast for my Science 101 lesson to keep up.

“Okay, that was thunder. Did you hear it?”

He nods.

“You hear thunder and you see lightening. Now get back up there and watch… and listen.” I touch his ears so he understands.

“Listen” is a word John Bear and I have been repeating over and over again lately and it occurs to me now that he may not truly understand what his ears even do, let alone what the act of silently listening entails, the marvels it can bring – even for us adults.

He climbs back up and takes position.

As he is squealing in delight, giggling and then jumping in and out of cuddles I am quickly splashed with a handful of dotted feelings that I have been preserving somewhere inside of 20+ years. I feel, like it was yesterday, the incredible fear and joy of discovering and understanding my first thunderstorm. And then, just like that, they are lost again.

I wonder if I hold him tight enough, if I can feel them again. But instead I feel a giant boy in my arms who is growing so quickly I can’t even fathom the space he’ll be taking up in just six-months, let alone in four more years. And what will he remember? What feelings will he take with him?

I hold him tight and hope he takes, at the very least, this feeling – the feeling of being loved so incredibly much. I also hope he forgives me for every mistake I have made or have yet to make. I am only human. And as for the clouds… I have absolutely no idea what they are fighting about but I’d imagine it has something to do with all of us growing up underneath them.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Restless Mama June 3, 2010 at 12:49 am

Most beautiful post I’ve read by you ever.


Gitte June 3, 2010 at 1:55 am

That was so beautifully written. I am so very glad you kept this blog going.


Ricci June 3, 2010 at 2:06 am

You made me want to cry, it was the same feelings I got when it hit me that two of my babies aren’t babies anymore. They are middle school kids. They are going through puberty, and their is nothing I can do about it. So I can relate….


Lara June 3, 2010 at 8:33 am

My daughter is turning six in a week or so, and just this week she stopped using training wheels and told me she doesn’t need her stuffed monkey anymore at night. Sigh. I, too, blogged about this growing up stuff the other day.

I tell her all of the people we love who are in heaven are bowling, and that is what we hear during thunderstorms, and the lightening must be them taking pictures. It comforts her and intrigues her at the same time.

Those moments of memory and experience are fleeting, aren’t they? But how lucky that we are to have these little ones to remind us at all of the wonder we once felt.


Melissa June 3, 2010 at 8:51 am

That was beautiful! I too love storms but was never told about the clouds fighting. Great way to explain it to kids. 🙂


kris June 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm

ok, that totally made me cry! I’ve been sneaking into my three year olds room before I go to bed just to get in a few extra snuggles while she’s still little. Time goes too quickly. Beautiful post.


Glenda June 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Beautiful post. They sure grow up so fast. Enjoy every minute of every day!


Tracy June 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm

LOL…I always told littleman that the heaven were bowling! Every loud clap was a strike and the lightening was the celebration 🙂


Stephanie June 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I love this. So beautiful.

I know how hard I am struggling with all the growing mine has done in just 14 months… I can’t imagine how it will feel when she’s 3… or 10… or 30..


caron June 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I stumbled upon your blog,some really creative insight on why thunder is so loud.lol I’m looking forward to reading more.


Heidi June 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

I keep being surprised, delighted and thankful for your blog! I love that you can bring many of the thoughts and emotions we have as mamas and parents to life in words.


Rich Man June 11, 2010 at 10:17 am

You love the storm? That is kinda odd. But i also do love watching a storm. But what I don’t like is the work I have to do after it. I need to clean up the yard, look for things that need repairs, look for the dog, wash the dog, feed the dog and pick up branches of trees lying around. I love storms but i also hate it. But what I love most is this post. Great work!


sugar daddy June 11, 2010 at 7:01 pm

That is a touching piece. I suddenly went into a deep thought about my kids, what will their future be? Ahhh…. the thought of uncertainty.


Robin June 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Beautifully written … and what a treasure of insight Benjamin will have to his own childhood and your parenting … Writing is such a powerful art of communication! Thank you for sharing!


Christina June 15, 2010 at 7:09 am

Well written that was good.


Becky June 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

Is there anything more powerful or beautiful than a bombastic thunderstorm? Perhaps the parent and child in fearless observation. I love the personal mythology you created for him, because he can translate it into scientific understanding as he evolves. What a perfect example of experiencing eternity through slowing down to witness the fleeting moment. That is truly inspiring to me!


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