Hanks felt like there was a hurricane in her head. It roared and whirled and pounded and thundered. Rain came out of her eyes and splashed in her ears and it tickled but she didn’t have time to scratch because she might fall into pieces if she stopped paying attention to the storm. She lifted her head and wailed, she sobbed, she created a great big fuss and still, still, still…..no one payed any attention.
Where were all of the grown ups? Why was she all by herself? Who was there to help?
No one. Not one single someone. Nobody to help her understand what was going on.
BRADSHAW she roared. Bradshaw. I. Need. You.
There was whispering going on in the living room. Hanks was under the dining room table with the linen cloth over it trying to stay out of the way and hoping to hear what was being said. Mom was crying. Dad was pacing. Doctors were talking. Nurses were hurrying. Wind was blowing. Snow was snowing…..no, no snow. World was feeling dim and hazy and blurry. Nothing was right and she was not safe. Someone wasn’t safe.
Bradshaw, Hanks said. What’s happening? What is going on? Is the world coming to an end? Hanks stopped crying, blew her nose on the edge of the table cloth and cuddled up with the quilt mom made for her to keep her safe and warm.
Ah, Hanks, Bradshaw settled beside Hanks and gave her a little kiss on her wet forehead. Grown-ups make a lot out of not so much. No, the world isn’t coming to an end. But somebody is having a lot to take care of and feels scared and overwhelmed.
Who? asked Hanks.
Well, said Bradshaw. Almost everyone when there is a disaster. When uncertainty happens. When we don’t know what to do when we feel sick, or poor, or alone. The grown up world is sometimes very difficult to face and feels impossible to understand when things happen to people that they didn’t want to happen or don’t know how to take care of. That is what grown ups face all the time.
I don’t want to be a grown up, ever! said Hanks. I never want to be an adult.
Yes, you do. Bradshaw assured her. That’s where you get to do what you are learning about now. When you are an adult you get to make your own decisions and choices and have ideas to try out and problems to solve that make you feel good about yourself because you did such a good job. Being an adult helps you feel big and strong and smart.
But grown ups are always having to learn something new again and again. They always have something that stops them and often times scares then and certainly challenges them. They call that lessons that need to be learned.
But if that is such a good thing, said Hanks. Then why is mom crying and dad pacing? Because, Bradshaw told her, they forget that it is about learning a lesson, growing and stretching and think are afraid it is about being wrong, or bad, or not smart, or something else awful. Adults forget what they are supposed to remember: that everything really does always turn out right some how, some time.