Storms raging through the night.

*Anxiety. The fear my daughter feels in regards to the storm has nothing to do with the storm itself and everything to do with her neurological conditions. The storm startles her which causes her body to involuntarily move, this lack of control over her movement causes her body, or specifically the anxiety gland…otherwise known as Tony Stark in our house to produce a chemical that floods through her body sending her into survival mode…fight or flight.

However the fear I feel in regards to storms has everything to do with watching my gran and mum run around switching of electricity, taking out hair pins, safety pins and me somehow getting the idea that lightening will search you out and come crashing through the windows to get you. My fear is never helped by the sound of fire engines whizzing through the streets a storm passes through.

I search along the mantel piece behind the bed for the red numbers , cursing that my body clock can tell time better than I can. I’m half aware of the deep rumble that penetrated my dream and lay in bed for a moment listening to the soft hum of nothing. Satisfied that I can hear no rain, no thunder I get up. As I pass the hallway window I spot the rain twinkling in the moonlight and then the skies alight. Counting my own heartbeats I pray for double figures. Fourteen then the rumble that echoes that vibrates. The rain continues to fall as a shushed lullaby from a mother’s lips. I wonder can storm clouds sense fear are they irrational atoms?  I climb back into the bed and lay motionless on the slither of mattress my daughter permits me. I listen to her breathe unaware of the storm that forms above her. The heavens open and rain plays a chaotic beat against our roof. I can hear the padding feet of our older cat as he storms along the hall and ceremoniously slams into the bed meowing into the night skies his deep warning to all that this is his territory and he will guard it with his life. He spends the rest of the night at her side growling at the stormy clouds and nudging her with his head every time she stirs. He is an old and grumpy cat, he is her knight. I watch the numbers on the clock change and count my way into single digits, I need to sleep, so on my slither of mattress I pull the covers above my head and listen to the rain.

6am and I am simultaneously pulled from my dream by the rumbling skies and the scream of “Mummy, did you hear that!” Her little voice shaking, I am awake, Whiner the cat is awake we comfort her together. He spills dribble across her hands as I lay kisses on her forehead. I scramble desperately to reach the headphones before the next rumble breaks through the angry storm filled atoms. Her fear is real it snakes through her like poison. With each crash of cloud with each flash her body reacts without permission. Her fear escalates her voice shakes and the tears are evident in every word. Two weeks of fear have been building to this moment, two weeks of checking weather reports two weeks of constantly needing to know will it thunder today, Mum? We are still battling the aftermath of yesterday’s anxiety attack as she should had stood motionless in the school field unable to stop the tears.

The rain is slowing to a soft lullaby and day has broken the flashes pass by almost unseen. The crashes of thunder sending her heart racing each time. I am no longer scared if the lightening or he thunder. I am Mum, I am scared of nothing.

Karen Hayward ©2016.

Ladybird ladybird.


Ladybird, ladybird
fly away home,
Your house is on
fire, your…

Go sweet thing, take heed
Flutter your wings upon the breeze.
For this curse will haunt your years,
Your life will be all fires and tears.
But alas, at the very least,
Stop calling all your children Ann,
consider binning all those pans.
Listen carefully when in the fields of man,
when fires burn you’ll be glad you ran.
Fly now my sweet rose coloured bug,
and I thank you kindly for the moments hug,
Remember keep those darlings snug,
Wrapped up tight like a bug in a rug.

Karen Hayward ©2016 (image and words)

I wish your voice could penetrate my dreams.

I wish your voice was loud enough to penetrate my sleep and enter my dreams, it wouldn’t be the first time I had discovered you there and likely not the last. I wish that when I woke in the early morning that both my mind and body woke up simultaneously the moment they saw your approach. I wish I could put into writing what I can’t put into words. I wish I could be awake at the times when you need and want me and sleep all other times. I wish, wishes, were true. I could drop an old shiny penny into a well or close my eyes and wish upon a dying planet who’s light is slowly fading from sight. I could wish upon white feathers and double rainbows, I could wish upon you.

Karen Hayward ©2015.