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For a few hours last night, we were in an electrical downpour that made our lights flicker and our walls shudder with the rolling thunder. The rain pelted our windows with an unexpected ferocity that on more than one occassion, I peered out our windows to see if it was rain or hail. I couldn’t tell the difference. Except for the lightning strikes, the night was black as ink.

Each of my kids react differently to this type of weather. Maya slinks into bed, undisturbed. Sophie, though disturbed, can distract herself enough to fall sleep. Ryder, however, is terrified of lightning. I guess we all have our hang ups.

As I ushered, cajoled, and begged our kids to bed, Ryder kept making his way out of his room, seeking some type of reassuring safety in our room. I shooed him away so many times, I even asked the twins to help him back to his room or to let him bunk with them.

He shuffled in our halls, dragging his pillow on the floor like a displaced person, a man without a nation – internally displaced. No one wanted him in their territory, and as he viewed it, his own room was a hostile and unwelcoming place, filled with shadows, dark corners and creatures that surface during stormy nights.

It reminded me of my brother Robert who writes a thought provoking, highly erudite column entitled, Internally Displaced. You can read him here. He writes about things that matter, things with substance, things I aspire to write someday.

Anyway, I suppose seeing Ryder wander our halls, dragging his pillow like a homeless person, should have moved me to offer him a safe haven. But I wasn’t moved. Thank goodness for siblings. Maya rescued him from the vast wasteland that is the 10 feet of hallway between our room and his. She ushered him to her room, built a lair of sheets and blankets, and gave him asylum.

 He slept between his sisters. Their brotherhood, inviolable.