The tumult that has been the last four days or so has dissipated. The breeze, calm now, has shed it’s angst and terror, left it on the lawn with the leaves and branches, detritus of the storm come and gone.
We settle again. We breathe a collective sigh of relief. We turn our praises skyward, bewildered that the blue and bright could take their places where not long ago darkness swooped down, poured out.
First an earthquake startled us. Then a hurricane tested our mettle. I am proud of my resilient little gang here.
Our preparation began subletly on Friday, and more disctinctly on Saturday. We walked the very fine line of giving enough information to the Little Ones so they could be included, but not too much information to create too much early panic. Some things couldn’t be avoided: Why are there so many cars in line to get get gas, Mommy? And so he would hear my calm, firm words instead of the panic threaded through others, I offered my best preparations: Yes, we area going to have a storm. Yes, there will be wind and rain. And Yes, Daddy and I will be here with you, keeping you safe, making sure you have whatever you need to feel comfortable.
He always likes a job, so we put him to work with us in the yard picking up a bit. He giggled at Daddy on the roof cleaning out the gutters, and she, the Littlest with no concept yet of this type of worry, shouted strong admonitions: “Be careful, Daddy!” The day meandered away, as most Saturdays do, but I still had the creeping worry of what was to come. Be strong, mama. I knew that I had to keep my unease breasted closely.
After tucking little ones in bed, the rain blurring vision through the evening windows, we abated our worry with mindless entertainment before turning to the up-to-the-minute details. Irene was coming, right on time: in the middle of the night, dark upon dark. The Eldest already tucked into our bed, blissfully snoring, we were just about to tuck ourselves around his tight body when the phone rang; more warnings, this time of a tornado. My head swirled at this news. This was a situation that we hadn’t rehearsed. Cue power outtage. My husband, good head on his shoulders, commanded we each grab a child, get low. Babes and flashlights, trails of blankets, pillows piled. They were quiet for a bit; it took a few minutes for them to wake enough to understand our change of scenery. Breathe, mama. Then, giggles and games, family camp-out. Eventually, hoping to save this pregnant mama’s body, and ease all towards much needed rest we ventured back to the first floor, each Little One paired with a Big.
Morning came, as morning always does. The Fitful, frightful night, gone. Still no power, but Glory Be, we are fine. More than fine.
Forty hours without power, but touched with the beautiful generosity of loved ones, neighbors and friends. Community seeped out of the cracks, like the water in our basements, finding its level. The winds whipped our houses, all; the waters pressed in against our foundations, all. We each experienced something the same, and something different. We each had something to offer in our mission together of putting back the pieces.
We all slept deeper last night. There was no panic in his voice when I tucked him in, said goodnight. The storm was over, and he had been brave, oh so brave.
My breath of thanksgiving pours out, again and again.