Two weeks ago I went to visit my sister and her 2 young children. One of my duties was to help my niece with a school project. It was a summer project that was due on the first day of school. Yikes! I’m glad they didn’t assign summer projects when I was a kid.
One afternoon, my niece and I sat at the dining room table and worked on her project. My nephew was upstairs alone playing wii. All of a sudden, the sky grew dark and thunder began to rumble in the distance. My niece looked around nervously as lightning started to light up the sky. I asked her if she was scared. She said no. What about your brother? She assured me that he would come downstairs if he got scared.
The storm got quite violent. After a particularly bright bolt of lightening and ear deafening thunder clap, we heard the sound of little feet running down the stairs. My nephew came around the corner, and I asked him if he was scared. No, he said, he just wanted to check on us and make sure we were alright. Uh-huh.
Another lightning bolt lit up the sky, accompanied by thunder so loud the entire house shook. Even I was starting to feel unsettled. My niece looked at me and said, “Maybe we should get some cucumbers.” And my nephew said, “Or we can go out on the porch and sing songs. But they have to be in English. I don’t know any in Serbian.”
I was dumbfounded. “How did you know about that?” I asked. They told me that my older sister had them read my post about stormy weather, cucumbers, and neuroplasticity. I fought back tears. I was deeply touched and humbled that my story had such a profound impact on my young niece and nephew. Instead of cowering under blankets, we talked, laughed and looked for cucumbers. Even after the power went out.
Sometimes…. all you have to do…. is just tell a story.
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP