Hi. My name is Andy.

I’m just a little fella and I’m usually a pretty easy going guy. It really doesn’t take much to make me happy.

I’m pretty short so my eye level is somewhere between your ankle and your knee so that makes the world outside a pretty big (and sometimes kinda scary) place through my eyes… well, the world I can see anyway.

When my Mama found me I was only three and a half years old but I already had a pretty bad cataract in one eye. Just in the last few months I’m starting to get one in the other eye too. But it’s okay ‘cause I’m still mighty good at doing pretty much anything a guy like me likes to do. (Honestly I think Mama worries about my eyesight more than I do!)

But lately I haven’t been doing so good. You see, my eyes might not be so good, but my hearing is really amazing and I can hear stuff coming waaay before my Mama does. Actually I’ve got extra special sensitive hearing so even regular noises that don’t bother you at all can hurt my ears a lot. And sometimes they can scare the bejeebers out of me!

So when I hear thunder from the storms even before my Mama does, she can tell that they’re on the way because of how nervous I get. We do sorta okay managing the thunder… well, some days are better than others, but we figure since it’s God that sends the rain and the storms and the thunder that we’re pretty okay with all of that, even if it does make me shiver. At least I know the thunder will stop when the storm passes and then the sun will come out and me and my Mama can go and enjoy our walks.

I Love to go on long walks! She’s pretty patient with me but lately she has noticed that now that I’m going on ten years old I’ve slowed down a bit. But she still lets me take my time enjoying the sunshine and the grass and the smells that are all around me… and my nose is super sensitive like my ears and it’s already pretty close to the ground. I mentioned that I’m a pretty short little guy, right?

But there’s a couple of times during the year when there’s a different, scarier kind of storms rolling through and I never know when they’re gonna stop and so they’re a lot worse than the ones that God sends. These storms come from people and it’s supposed to be some kind of celebration.

But all I know is that the “people thunder” that is so random all that time while they’re doing their celebrating? It’s got me shivering and shaking and looking for a place to hide… but no place really feels safe. Mama tries to make me feel better and she bought me this really tight shirt and she’s even tried giving me medicine but nothing seems to work for me.

So while all those people are making their thunder, I’m just praying for the day when it’ll finally stop. On days like today though, there was so much of that thunder going on that even though Mama got my supper ready early so maybe we could go out again, I couldn’t even finish it when she gave it to me. I had to wait until it calmed down outside for a little bit.

And even though I finally ate, my tummy really hurts and Mama can tell because when it gets like this my tummy makes these awful noises so I can’t hide it from her even though I know she’s really worried about me. (I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her cry a couple times about all this thunder in the past few days.)

It’s usually a few months until the next time they want to celebrate something and then they go out and make a bunch more of that thunder they love so much. And the worst part is that even after the thing they are celebrating is over, they just keep on making more and more thunder until the storm they found it in finally runs out.

Mama read something today about a place called Italy where there’s a town that has the sparkly stuff for those really pretty storms for when people want to celebrate… but there isn’t any thunder!! I’d probably (well, I’d try to anyway) enjoy the sparkly storms if they weren’t so painfully loud in my ears and so terrifying like the ones we have here. That thing Mama read said that for some of us, that kind of thunder that those people keeping making can cause all kinds of health problems for guys like me with super sensitive hearing like mine.

It can cause stuff like “heart problems, nausea, tremors, debilitating fears and light-headedness” and I think she even found a name for why I get so scared and why I can’t stop trembling and trying to find a place that’s quiet enough to hide from all that thunder that’s pounding in my super sensitive ears and I shake and I can’t hardly breathe and… and… and…

It just gets really, really scary. I even chew on my feet sometimes when I’m really nervous ‘cause I just don’t know what to do with all the stuff their thunder blasts into my ears that even makes my insides hurt.

Mama said they called it “acoustic stress.” I don’t know if that’s what’s making me so scared and having a name for it doesn’t really help me all that much with so many people making so much thunder for such a long time. My world is pretty small already and once that thunder gets going during these celebration things, there’s LOTS of times when I can’t even THINK about going outside. Sometimes, when it’s really bad, I can only make it outside once in the morning and that’s it…

for the whole day.

I mean, I can kind of plan around a storm that God sends. I know the sun will come back out. And even if it’s nighttime, with my super sensitive hearing I can tell when His storms are gonna stop. But the people storms just seem like they’re never gonna end. I mean, right now it’s way past midnight (which is waaay past my bedtime) but they’re still out there… making all that thunder.

Me and Mama actually stayed up this late just hoping they’d quit and I’d be able to go out again just for a few minutes. But it’s still going on and it doesn’t seem like they’re gonna stop any time soon. So that means I won’t get to go outside for the nighttime smells either. And I’m sorry if it’s “TMI” but I learned a long time ago that I’m not supposed to make messes inside so that means I’ll have to “hold it” all night long until I can go to the bathroom outside come tomorrow morning.

So I guess me and Mama are just gonna try to go to bed and maybe we can get some sleep. I know that once those people get done with their celebrating and they finally run out of their thunder I’ll sleep really good because I’m already exhausted from all of the people thunder we’ve been hearing in this celebration storm that’s lasted for at least three days now!

But you know what the worst part is? The worst part is that the thing they are supposed to be celebrating with all that thunder isn’t even here yet! Well, actually I guess since it’s after midnight and all (and now it’s even going on 1:00!) it’s sorta here… but come daylight it’ll probably just get even worse by the hour. And they gather up so much of that thunder each time they want to do their celebrating that it’ll still take days – and sometimes if they’ve gotten a bunch of that thunder it’ll still take weeks – until their storm dries up.

I mean, like I said, I’m just a little fella and I’m usually a pretty easy going guy. It really doesn’t take all that much to make me happy. But right now I’m terrified… and there’s so much thunder booming around me that I kinda wonder if I’ll ever feel happy again.

But more than anything, I just don’t understand why people need so much thunder to do their celebrating.

As Mama always says,

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