It is raining cats and dogs this morning!
Or, in my household, mostly cats, as my two crazy kitties scamper for cover from the thunder and lightning and rain. They’re seeking any shelter they can find and are currently under an overturned basket of clothes in the laundry room.
Honestly, I haven’t seen a good old-fashioned storm this strong since I lived in the vast flatness of Ohio. Bad weather was more common there than it is here in the mountains of West Virginia, and in the four years I’ve lived here, I only remember a few storms this bad. The weather men are positively having a field day!
When I was younger, I was terrified of storms. I remember fleeing to my parents’ room, climbing under the covers of their waterbed, and waiting for the bad weather to end. Something about the noise and chaos frightened me then. Maybe it was the fact that our back yard shared a fence with a farm, and I always worried about the animals. Maybe it was fatefully watching Twister with my best friend when I was in elementary school, and thinking of it as a horror movie back then.
Whatever it was, I didn’t grow out of that fear until I was in college. I began to relish the freedom and sheer power that storms represented, perhaps spurred into my love by the countless images in books and movies that showed the heroine running out into the rain, her soul finally free during the storm scene.
This morning, I am wondering what my daughter will think of the storm when she wakes up. She’s ten months old, so it’s her first big one. So much of my life as a mother is spent wondering what’s going on in my baby’s head. I don’t think that will change, no matter how refined her powers of communication become–that’s just the relationship between parent and child, I suppose.
Maybe becoming a mother has a great deal to do with being less fearful of noise and chaos. Trial by fire, as it were, since my whole life has been upended in the last ten months. Becoming a mom has done an absolute tornado on my once well-ordered existence, and I haven’t been sure how I felt about it until just now. Maybe I need to look at Hurricane Ruthie as a storm whose power and abandon I feel exhilarated by, instead of a storm I’m just fearful of.
Because I have spent a lot of my time as a mom just scared–scared because I don’t know what I’m doing, scared that I’m going to mess up, scared that I won’t be able to make it through the shockingly difficult trial that is new motherhood. I’m not used to living in fear, and I haven’t coped well with this ten-month never-ending storm.
So, here it is, my declaration: I’m tired of cowering under this useless umbrella. I’m going to toss it aside and stand out in the storm and celebrate its power and noise and chaos. I’m going to think of that scene in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice where Darcy proposes, and I’m going to listen to that fantastic orchestral score in my head whenever I’m tempted to cry and be beaten down by the rain. I’m going to declare my love and not be afraid, because what’s the point? The storm will always be bigger than me. Motherhood will always have a higher purpose that I cannot see. I need to surrender and relish the storm, and fear it no longer.