Sleeping Through the Storms
Living in Missouri presents a number of predicaments for all who reside within its boundaries. While weather during the summer is hot and dry, fall is usually very mild and pretty, and winter is damp but not terribly cold. The spring however, is fraught with tumultuous thunderstorms and tornadoes. Cody doesn’t like either one.
The mere sound of gusty winds is enough to set my son on edge. Lightning and thunder will send him down the stairs to the basement in a hurry. Then we see the anxious pacing, and until the storm has passed, we hear the talk of power outages before they happen, falling trees and a sundry of other predictions of gloom and doom.
When inclement weather happens during day it is bad enough. But many storms seem to wait until the dark of night just after everyone is tucked in their beds and just about to drift into peaceful slumber. And then a single clap of thunder can begin an all-night cycle of Cody being up and down out of bed. Reassuring him that everything is fine is useless. Upon climbing back in my own bed I hear the creak of the floor and footsteps up and down the hallway. This makes for a sleepless night for everyone. Add to it the fact that sometimes the storms last for several days in a row and you have a brutal 72 hours of sleep deprivation and irritable moods.
Cody is no more at ease with storms now at the age of 25 than he was as a 5-year-old child. It was about five years ago when Bill and I finally conceded that he may never be able to sleep through the night when winds and rain were audible or when flashes of lightning would illuminate his room. We had to do something for his sake and ours. So I decided to try having Cody sleep in our room.
Our bedroom is large enough to accommodate another bed. But instead of putting in a stationary bed, I went shopping for an airbed. I found one that was queen-size and would rise 21 inches from bottom to top. I made it up with a mattress pad, sheets, a blanket, and quilts so it would seem like his regular bed. I changed the pillow cases so they would match the sheets on the airbed just the way he likes them. And then I prayed it would work.
I knew storms were due to roll through our area throughout the night. The winds were predicted to gust up to 40 miles per hour and we were supposed to have heavy rains. Thunder and lightning were bound to occur. Now, my last step would be to prepare Cody for the new plan of action.
After the bed was all ready to go, I brought Cody downstairs to see it and asked, “How would you like to camp out downstairs tonight with Bill and me?” Upon first sight of it, he really didn’t know what to think. He walked all around it, investigating every angle. I asked him, “Why don’t you lie down on it and try it out.” He was very unsure about it at first, but then reluctantly he decided to try it. He eased himself down and lay on his back. He was statue-still for about two minutes. His face was void of expression during this time. But then a grin began to emerge. And then, he flopped over on his stomach and the sound of his muffled giggles set my heart at peace. Now if we all could only get a good night’s rest.
Nighttime came and so did the storms. What started out as a light rain pelting the windows soon turned into a torrential downpour. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed and the raindrops soon turned into hail. The clatter on the roof was enough to make me tense. But I wasn’t about to show it. I calmly got up from my chair and told Cody it was time for bed. To my surprise, there was no hesitation, no balking or anything of the like. He got up and went straight to his new airbed, climbed in it and pulled the covers up around him. He squirmed around for a bit then said his prayers as usual. When I went to my own bed, he seemed content to stay put. I climbed under my blankets and turned out the light. I waited and listened for a few moments. Then I heard the sound of a faint snore coming from the direction where Cody lay. I fell asleep that night to the sound of rain falling and my son snoring. It was music to my ears. My plan had worked and now we could all get a good night’s rest.