There are some things I remember from growing up almost as though I watched them happen and took pictures in my head. I remember them in a series of snapshots that I can flip through and linger over. Sure, some of these snapshots are not ones I want to review too often, but thankfully most of them are good.
My dad worked a lot when I was growing up. Most nights he would come home late, well after my mom, sisters, and I had eaten dinner. He would sit in a dining room chair, and unlace his Red Wing steel-toe work boots. My sisters and I would clamor to talk to him, to stand in his boots, to tell him what happened during the day. My mom would heat up his dinner and he would eat while we climbed on and around him. I'm sure he would have liked nothing more than to just take a shower and go to bed, but he listened and talked to us and then tucked us in for the night.
Except on nights when there were thunderstorms. My dad loves thunderstorms. On nights when there were thunderstorms, we would all pile on the ancient, boxy, sea foam green couch my parents inherited from somewhere and watch the storm. Our house was tiny, but had the perfect setup for storm watching. One of the rooms was a long, narrow, breezeway/enclosed porch-type room with floor-to-ceiling Jalousie windows all along one wall. The green couch faced the windows, as that was the only way the couch would fit in the narrow room and still allow for foot traffic.
We would crank all the windows open far enough that we could experience the sounds of the storm, yet not so far that rain would blow in. All the lights would be turned off, then we'd jump on the couch and wait. There was some wiggling, squirming, jockeying for seats, but once we all caught a glimpse of the backyard illuminated by the lightning, we'd forget whose leg was touching her foot and just watch. I really don't remember what else was said, but I do remember vividly what everything out those windows looked like in the electric-blue-white flashes of light on those nights. And I remember how it felt to be kind of afraid of the storm, but also so incredibly comforted by the nearness of my family. I have a special file in my head for the snapshots of those nights.
Luke has been talking for days about how my family used to watch storms when I was little. I'm pretty sure I didn't tell him, so I guess my mom or dad has some snapshots of those nights too. Tonight we finally had a big thunderstorm and he went around turning off all the lights and asked if we could sit on the couch together and watch. Let's just say I added some new snapshots to my collection. Luke and Owen all snuggled up next to us, their profiles illuminated in the flashes, making some new storm watching memories. Minus the sea foam green couch.