Earlier this summer, a friend of mine had a post on Facebook (yes, I know all of my friends personally on Facebook) asking how she could help her daughter stop being afraid a tornado was going to hit their house.
The beginning of the summer heralded tornado season for those of us here in the Midwest, and they hit full-force with unusual frequency. An area really close (a couple neighborhoods over) to my friend's house was hit in one of the tornadoes and her daughter is now terrified that one will hit their house. Understandable.
Now, this may seem really weird (dare I even confess this particular story?), but when she asked for help, I reminisced on my terror of tornadoes when I was younger.
My fear, unlike my friend's daughter, originated from my mom. Now, let me give you some context before you go blame my poor mother:
My dad is a total adrenaline junkie. When tornadoes hit our area (as they so often do in the Midwest), he would go out and try to find them. While there are many things I could say about this, some of them involving his earlier exploits in life (like the time with the moose ... no, I will refrain and save that story for another time), but I think I'll simply limit it to this ... *ahem* My mom was terrified that her (bored) children were going to die if they went into a room with windows. (In a house covered with windows, our only shelter was a meager bit of hallway we crammed into, not very fun for a five year old more interested in toys than being safe.) She was also frantically trying to get a hold of my dad (this is a time before cell phones were more common than toilet paper), who was nowhere to be found - he was out chasing the tornadoes, leaving a young (terrified and fiercely protective) mother alone to protect her children from elements that were not under her control.
Okay, so now you know the context, back to the story.
After seeing how scared my mom was of this mysterious thing called a tornado, my five-year-old self was scared that this thing my strong, protective mother couldn't stop from hurting me, was going to burst into our house and hurt us all.
Except, that when my mom said 'tornado,' I heard 'tomato.'
So, I believed (for much longer than I dare confess to) that giant tomatoes seven feet tall, with arms, legs, and angry faces, went around smashing windows and houses down. Because that's what mom had said, and mom knows everything, right?
In the end, the tomatoes didn't get us and my overactive imagination moved on to more interesting things. But as tornado season is in full force this year, I thought I would try to add some tomatoes to the sauce to make things a tiny bit more lighthearted.