Dangling in our sky chair on the front porch, the mutt trembling beside me, I watched lightning claw the sky and listened to the crack and rumble of thunder. Every so often the wind shifted enough to send a bracing spray of rain in our direction. I love storms. It's one of the things I missed most living in California. Earthquakes are dramatic, but there's no anticipation, no enjoyment while it's happening. They occur, you don't trust your senses until it's almost over, and then either you're fine or you're not. A good thunderstorm is so much more satisfying!
As we sat there, I heard sirens. At first I thought someone's home had been hit by lightning, then I realized they were the tornado sirens. Crap!
I ran inside with a velcro mutt hugging my leg. Jrex and I checked our phones for alerts. Sure enough, the thunderstorm was prime for a tornado and was heading our way.
"Should we wake up Brex and hide in the bathroom?" I wanted to just shrug it off and keep sitting outside.
"I think we should," wise husband decided.
Sigh. I threw a bunch of pillows around in the downstairs powder room then went up to get Brex up from bed. I rarely see him sleep since he usually pops awake and starts talking if the door opens. We don't get to do the fond gaze at the sleeping child bit. As a result, I love it when I get to be around him when he's sleepy. He snuggled into my shoulder as we went downstairs. We left the light off in the bathroom (there's a night light) and got him settled on the pillows.
The sirens kept sounding every fifteen minutes, and we'd check one or the other of our phones. Each time, it woke up Brex. At first he settled back to restless sleep, but finally, he woke up, crawled past my legs and tottered into the corner. He looked up at the light, "OOOOhh. LITE"
I launched into Old MacDonald and added verses about the mutt, Appa, Mom.
As I sang, he bounced in place doing his only big dance move, the toddler bop. At the end of the verse, he clapped and said, "Yea!" Sadly, it's the only time anyone has ever clapped after one of my solos!
After 45-minutes total, we were able to go back upstairs. He ran around the room in a manic state. I finally scooped him up with a book and sat down to read to him. After doing his book/prayer/song routine, he settled back to sleep.
The weird truth is that I'm actually happy to be able to pass along the Tornado Huddle tradition. I loved it when we gathered as a family in the basement. It was exciting, a little dangerous, but lots of fun to see everyone in the middle of the night. Of course, the only reason it's a fond memory is that nothing bad ever happened. Let's hope that's true for Brex, too!