I don’t remember the exact year, but at some point when I was a little kid I became aware of natural disasters. It seemed like over night I became terrified that my house would be knocked over by a tornado, or a flash flood would carry me away while I waited at the bus stop. Don’t ask me where these thoughts came from, but at about six or seven I was convinced something bad was going to happen.
I remember one day there was a significant rain storm in my hometown. I remember I ran up to my parents’ room and peered out the window at the tall trees that were violently swaying over my home. Instantly, I became terrified that one of these trees was going to fall down and smash my house into two. As this realization poured over me, I sat down in a tight ball and started to cry. I don’t know if one of my siblings saw me, or if my dad just happened to walk in at that moment, but I’ll never forget how he came over to me and pulled me up onto his lap. As he wiped my tears away, I began to tell him about my fears of natural disasters. I’ll never forget how he wrapped his arms around me and told me that no matter what happened he was going to protect me. I know it sounds over simplified, but at that moment my fears were gone. I love this memory because it’s the one I always think of when someone tells me to describe my dad. Around other people he’s not the most gregarious or demonstrative person, but when you are alone with him there’s truly no one more tender or loving.