For the last few weeks mother’s everywhere have been frantically buying the last of the school supplies, stocking up for what is sure to be a fantastic school year. We anxiously awaited the “Meet the Teacher” night and all happily trudged through the school and dropped off the 20 pounds of glue, notebook paper and crayons that we had been scrambling around town to buy only weeks before. However, we were not the only mother’s busy this week, Mother Nature made sure we didn’t forget about her in all of the Back to School rush. Between giving us a good jolt to make sure we were paying attention with an Earthquake on the 25th of August and then slamming us with Tropical Storm force winds and rain with Irene on the 29th we were sure to take notice and so were our little ones.
At any age the fact that you have an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week is enough to wrangle anyone’s nerves, but add the fact that you are about to start kindergarten and your head might as well just lift off and explode. I have to say the day of the earthquake I knew almost immediately what was happening. The minute the earth began to shake and I heard the rumble my mind started shouting “EARTHQUAKE!” immediately followed by “ Oh no, I hope the children are alright.” I knew that it was naptime for the little one and that she probably slept peacefully through her first earthquake (which she did) and then instantly began to worry about the Boy. He is my worrier, my cautious child, my gentle soul, and remember folks, the one who loves to check out the “Earthquake” DVD from the library every chance he gets. I knew that if he recognized or was told that the shaking was in fact an earthquake, he would begin to worry about us because to him we are so far away, “in the city.” That was my biggest concern too; I hated that something happened and automatically you call to check on everyone and you can’t get through, landline or cell because everyone is doing the same thing, checking on loved ones, and we were all spread out in different places. I knew that we were all okay; I just didn’t want my children worrying. Thankfully The Goddard School had enough sense not to tell the children what happened and let the parents do it on their own. I was very grateful for their good sense in a time of crisis.
Once home I asked the little guy if he felt the shaking and told him what it was, he thought it was pretty neat. Especially when he realized that while we did in fact have an earthquake, there was no severe damage in our area and no one was hurt by it. I think those things brought him some peace of mind about the situation. However the media splashed it all over the TV and then began the countdown to Irene, which scared the living daylights out of both of the children.
The minute our precious little flower would see the Weather Channel come on and see a palm tree whipping in the wind, Jim Cantore shouting over pounding rain and wind, she would cry “STORM” and run to my lap. I would just turn the channel (even though we were trying to monitor the storm to see how to prepare) and comfort her. When the storm actually got here they were both fine until we lost power and the wind really picked up. I was anxiously watching the trees in our front yard and I’m sure that made them uneasy so we started doing our own weather reports using the camcorder and a fake microphone and that seemed to help ease their nerves. We played games, sang songs and let them eat plenty of pop tarts and other forbidden treats (but not too many, I did not want to have to clean up vomit in a house with no power.) to help pass the time until they eventually went to sleep and left Mommy, Daddy and Gaga up to wait out the storm biting our nails at every gust of wind that went by.
It’s hard being a parent, especially at times like these when there are stressful things going on in this world that we have no control over, but I try to remember what I do have control over and that is my family. As long as I remain calm, steady and seemingly in control (notice I say “seemingly”), my children will always feel a sense of peace even in the middle of the most strenuous of storms (Mother Nature-induced or otherwise). As we prepare them this week to go off to school, some for the first time, let’s send them off with that sense of peace instilled deep down in them, so that they may go forth and do great things no matter what gets thrown their way.