|I found this photo on the Weather Channel's website. It was taken by someone named Nathan Ralston near Throckmorton, Texas.|
Last week, we had a surprise middle-of-the-night thunderstorm. One round of lightening, which lit up our bedroom like the Las Vegas strip, prompted Aubrey to jump out of bed like the house was on fire. Before the the thunder made its violent reply...One Mississippi, Two Mississippi...he was back with Olivia in his arms. He put her down next to me and she curled up against my back like a little kitten and went right back to sleep, leaving the lightening and thunder to fight it out amongst themselves.
There is a reason this image sticks with me and serves as an effective description of the man we call Daddy.
Olivia is terrified of thunderstorms.
Terrified might be a bit of an understatement. One clap of thunder will send her into panic mode and if she can't immediately find you, she will fall apart. Lightening and wind make it worse. Thunder has always made her jumpy, but I blame this new level of anxiety on last year's tornado. It was frightening.
Aubrey knows this.
Aubrey also knows that, in her mind, he is the only one big enough, strong enough and tough enough to keep her safe from the angry voices of a storm. Even as she turns to me for a soft voice, prayer or song, she has one hand on "My Daddy," keeping him close and keeping us safe.
It didn't surprise me at all that Aubrey's first instinct was to go to her to keep her safe and to keep her from being afraid. It's what he does for all of us.
There will come a time when we'll have to let Olivia face storms on her own. Whether those storms come from Mother Nature or living life, we can't protect her forever. But now, in the innocence of childhood, is not the time to teach her to be tough and independent. Now is the time to teach her that she is safe, secure and protected. That she can trust Daddy to do all he can to love her and shield her from all things fearsome and destructive in her small world.
Then, when she has to face them on her own she will be able to do it with confidence. She can do it knowing that as soon as she cries out for sanctuary, Daddy (because that's who she will ask for) will be there. Even if it means driving all night through a thunderstorm to get to her.
That's about as good of a daddy as you can get.