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Hey Dads!

Hey Dads!


HEY DADS!  Do you like storms?  How about your kids?  (I mean do your kids like thunderstorms, not do you like your kids…)  I bet you’ve had some small person come running into your room at night when thunder shakes the house and lightning flashes outside the windows.  If you’ve ever been in a tent or trailer during a thunderstorm maybe you’ve felt a legitimate fear.  No one likes it when a tree crashes down on their tent.

I remember camping at Mara Provincial Park in Orillia when I was a kid somewhere around 1995.  I’m pretty sure it was a tornado that came barrelling through as it sounded like a freight train.  We fled from our tents as people throughout the campground headed for their vans and the solid brick-built bathrooms.  A few trees came down and some tents were flooded but everyone came out alive.

I have a few memories of the 1985 Barrie tornado but I was just a young lad.  We lived in the Holland Marsh just south of Barrie.  My aunt was babysitting us that day and I remember the rain just pounding on our big living room window.  The wind was blowing so hard it was driving the rain into the house beneath both the screen door and the main door.   That was scary for a little kid!

There are some great wide open spaces around Springwater where you can really see the storms coming in.  One summer a few years ago the kids and I just sat on our swingset watching a huge storm blow in from the northwest.  Our house was surrounded by hundreds of acres of fields so our views of the sky seemed to go on forever.  We could see the lightning light up the night sky for miles around.

What causes us to fear storms?  The power of the wind, the sound of the thunder, the flash of the lightning?  I try using statistical logic to calm the little ones that come running using phrases like, “In my forty years I don’t know of a single person that died in a thunderstorm, do you?”  That doesn’t seem to help.  They still prefer to hide under the blankets or bury their head in my chest.  Maybe it just comes with time.  At some point the fear of storms becomes a sense of admiration of the raw power that they contain.

As the kids get older they seem to grow out of it.  Someday there won’t be anyone left at home to come running to us when the storms rage.  We’ll probably miss that won’t we?  Part of our role as dads is to protect our families.  Protect them from real risks and protect them from perceived risks.  And it does feel good to know that there are a few small people in the world who trust and love us enough to come running for comfort and protection.  So dad, enjoy those nights when you’re awakened abruptly by someone jumping on your gut.  They need your protection and comfort and remember they won’t be home forever.  Time flies!  Make every moment count.

Jason Weening sometimes has his sleep interrupted by nine kids and one cozy wife.  For more meteorological insights check out www.heydads.ca.

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