(This story is for all the 9-year olds out there – and anyone else who is going through transition.)
Adam awoke one morning and noticed that something felt a little different. It was nothing obvious at first, just an unfamiliar feel to the air. “A storm is coming” he found himself thinking and went to the window to check but outside everything was still and calm. A pleasant sunny morning with no sign of anything unusual. “That’s odd. I wonder what this feeling is” he thought as he prepared for his day.
Over the morning the feeling became stronger. It was as though a hurricane was beginning. The air felt strange and things began to move a little. He couldn’t quite see what was moving or how, but things were definitely not as solid as they usually were.
He hurried out of the room hoping to get away but the feeling continued. “It must be a storm” thought Adam, “What else could it be?” He was very unsettled. In the kitchen his mom was making breakfast and packing his school lunch. It looked so normal but something felt threatening. “What’s happening mom?” he asked, knowing she could ease his fear. “What do you mean?” she replied. “I’m making porridge for breakfast and your lunches. Your brother just woke up. Please brush your teeth and get something warmer on.”
Adam couldn’t believe that was her answer. “I don’t want porridge!” he shouted trying to make her understand he needed her to explain what was happening. “WHY are you making porridge?!” She looked at him surprised. “Wow, you woke up grumpy this morning. Please don’t shout at me like that. You like porridge, that’s why I’m making it.”
He couldn’t believe it. She was supposed to make him feel better but she was still talking about the porridge! Didn’t she understand he needed to know what was happening? Didn’t she understand anything? “I HATE porridge”, he shouted, “I WON’T eat it!”
Adam was just as surprised as his mother that he was shouting like that. He hadn’t meant to shout… but it did make the weird feeling a little better. He stomped his feet and that also helped. His little brother came into the room and bumped into him. It made the whole room wobble inside Adam which gave him a fright and made him angry. He turned to his brother and hit him. His brother started to wail. Mom came in. “Adam what is going on with you?! Why did you hit your brother?”
Adam couldn’t explain. He was feeling so many things all at once. He was scared but she wasn’t helping him. He hadn’t meant to shout. He hadn’t meant to hit but everyone was behaving like everything was fine. Couldn’t they see the storm? Couldn’t they feel it? Was it just him? What was happening to him?
Adam ran to his room and slammed the door to ease some of the fear. He climbed onto his bed and picked up Blanky and Horse. They always helped him. They would understand. But a weird wind was moving around in his room, swirling around, moving his things out of place, changing them. He looked at Blanky and Horse and trembled as he realised the magic had been taken out of them! He was just holding a blanket and a toy, not Blanky and Horse! “What am I going to do?!” he thought in terror, “How can I do without them? What will comfort me now? Mom couldn’t see. Am I on my own?”
The wind swirled on, moving more things in his room. Adam felt afraid. “I should close the window” he thought. He raced to the window, afraid to let his feet touch the floor but when he got to the window it was already closed. Looking outside he could see it was still a calm, summer morning outside. Nothing on the outside had changed.
How could that be?
The strange wind suddenly blew back the other curtains in the room. “I don’t have other curtains in my room!” thought Adam in frightened amazement, “Since when were those there? I’ve never seen them before”. Windows Adam never knew existed showed him a landscape that looked unfamiliar…yet not. It was his back yard and garage, the bins, his dog… but things were different somehow. This was very unsettling.
It was a difficult day for Adam. When he tried to tell his family how he felt they got angry with him, his brother kept fighting with him, at school he felt alone even though his friends were there, the teacher told him off for doing something wrong but he wasn’t even sure why he did it… At home he got into trouble some more but it was like he wasn’t fully in charge of his hands or his mouth – it was as if the strange wind kept moving things so that even though he meant to behave the way they wanted him to, he couldn’t.
They got angry with him for how he was being, he felt misunderstood, afraid and angry with them, he couldn’t explain because he didn’t understand what was happening – and the wind carried on blowing. It carried on blowing the day after, and the day after that, and the day after that too.
Adam learned that no-one else could feel the wind or see the things moving. Outside all was still and normal. It was only inside him that the storm raged on. He never knew what was going to happen inside him next. Words and actions he hadn’t planned kept flowing through him, new things opened up that he had never seen before – at least not in the way he saw them now. It was confusing and lonely – but also a little bit exciting.
He needed love from everyone, as much as they could give. He clung to his mom and got scared to be alone yet at the same time he couldn’t bear to have them near with this wind blowing inside him and everything moving about so he pushed them away. He tried to control everything, to make it the way HE wanted it to be, but it just made things harder with the people around him – and the strange storm carried on.
Finally one day Adam realised that he didn’t want to go on being afraid of the storm. He’d gotten a bit used to it. Now he wanted to play again. That meant he would have to do it despite the wind. So slowly he learned how to walk in the wind, how to move and talk to others in the wind. He learned to settle down, how to love and he finally even learned to play inside the wind. After a while life inside the wind became more normal and one day he realised that he hadn’t noticed when exactly the wind had stopped blowing.
Things inside him were different to how they had been before the strange storm. He was re-arranged – and he rather liked the new him. Somehow he felt deeper, wider and wiser now. Life was even more interesting now than before. He understood more things and had learned new skills so he had the tools to explore new games, new interests and new ways to love…
“So that’s what the storm was doing” Adam realised. Then he even added, “Thanks storm”.
Adam had come through the storm back into the sun.