The Tornado Crate

Story is growing up. I know that sounds ridiculous. Of course kids grow up. We all grow up — well, most of us. Anyway, what I mean is that she is growing in maturity. I can hear it in her choice of vocabulary. I see it in her facial expressions. I notice it in the grown-up topics she discusses and decisions she makes. I am very proud of her growing up; she is certainly growing beyond my expectations, and they are pretty high.

The other day she asked me about high-yield savings accounts — and I promptly told her to talk to Ali. She worries about how others perceive her and thinks deeply about how she can change perceptions. She shops for and makes her own lunches. She presents arguments in a logical way when she really wants something. She understands herself and her intrinsic motivations. I love all these things about her, but sometimes I wonder if she is missing out on childhood stuff. She’s only nine after all. And then something happens that helps me see the little girl she still is.

Last night, we had several tornado warnings throughout the evening. The sirens were going off. Tornadoes were confirmed on the ground. And Story was away from home. She is scared of tornadoes, so much so anytime the wind blows, she has me check the weather. I was grabbing my phone to call her, when I got a text: “Mom, can you get my tornado crate and Rocki [the bearded dragon] ready?”

A couple of years ago, Story put together a crate of her favorite stuffed animals, those that have special meaning to her. This crate has a specific function as a tornado crate. If we have a tornado warning, I am responsible for keeping Story and the animals safe, and Story is responsible for keeping the crate safe.

Story is growing up, yes. But she is still enough of a kid to worry about the safety of her stuffed animals over her own safety and that of her mom. And I’m okay with that.