There was nothing cooler than knowing that Jen and I were headed to Wheaton for the weekend. I'd had my time with Amy, knowing that we were older and had LOTS OF IMPORTANT STUFF TO TALK ABOUT, which usually meant the two of us sprawled out on her bed with our yearbooks, dissecting which boys were hot, which ones we "liked," which ones liked us (well that was more of Amy's category, LOL) and then playing various games of MASH to figure out who we would marry. These are EXTREMELY important things to girls of our age.
In the meantime, our spastic younger siblings would undoubtedly be A) destroying something, B) running around... a LOT, C) sitting under the kitchen table or D) bothering our EXTREMELY important boy rundown.
One weekend, the skies greyed very quickly and the winds picked up. It got very scary outside and Annie told us to get away from the windows. I was nothing short of terrified. Other than nuclear war (these were the early 80s, after all, and I admittedly had an amusing and terrifying list of phobias) but second to mushroom clouds were funnel clouds on my list of unholy fears.
I believe that I retreated behind a couch, cried, and started saying "Hail Mary"s and wishing that my parents were there.
Annie eventually found me and scooped me up in a big sympathetic hug, saying, "Oh honey, you're not used to these DuPage storms. You're going to be all right." Then we sat and watched the storms and she kept an eye on me and I was a lot less afraid.
A few years ago, I was at my therapist appointment in Glen Ellyn when the sirens started going off. Ann (my therapist) suggested that we head to the basement. We continued my session in the stairwell. I can remember thinking, "Oh, it's just the DuPage storms. I'm used to them now. I'll be all right."
I don't care what age you are, it always feels really nice to know that someone like Annie is keeping an eye on you, and more importantly, making you feel safe.
Thank you, Auntie Annie, for making your friendly yet neurotic little companion REALLY happy to be leaning on you that day. I love you!