Hurricane Florence is heading our way. For the past week we have been receiving warnings about being prepared for high winds, an onslaught of rain, and power outages. The projected pathways have shifted with each passing day. Different colors representing different degrees of the strength of Florence’d wrath spread across the television set. We live a couple hours from the eastern coast of Virginia, not near the North Carolina coastline which is bracing for the worst. Even so, I stocked up our kitchen with milk, bread, eggs and water. We have the essentials like batteries and wine. We are ready.
The tough part is that our son goes to college down in North Carolina, several hours inland from the coast. It’s not that he is in danger, it is more that he is not under my roof. During emergency situations I never feel ok with my family separated. One time in particular I experienced the worst circumstance of separation. It was many years ago, when all four kids were very young. My husband was traveling and we were living in Connecticut. I did not feel like cooking one summer night so I took the kids to a little casual restaurant in town for burgers and fries. The day was one of those scorching hot humid days where you just knew a storm was brewing. I brought the baby in the carrier into the restaurant, with my 2 year old son, my 4 year old daughter, and my 6 year old son in tow. Just was we were finishing up our meal, I looked outside and saw the sky going from light dusk to grey then black. The wind was beginning to whip up. This summer storm was about to unleash in a violent way. I made the impulsive decision to try to get the kids home before we were stuck in this restaurant waiting for it to pass. The rain was just starting to fall so I told my older son and daughter to wait inside the restaurant while I ran out to put the baby and their little brother in his carseat. We dashed out to the suburban and quickly escaped the pelting rain. I buckled them in. I looked up and saw a garbage can go flying through the air sideways as the wind velocity escalated. My stomach dropped in fear. How could I leave this car to run back into the restaurant to get my two other kids? What if I couldn’t make it back to the car safely? It was too risky at this point to leave the car. I could see my 4 year old daughter’s crying face in the window next to the booth we had been sitting in. The twenty yards that separated us felt like an ocean apart. The time inched by as I sat in the car next to two of my children, unable to go comfort my other two children. Tears stained my own cheeks. I barely remember anything about the storm stopping, but I will never forget that tugging feeling inside my mamabear heart when I was separated from my kids. My daughter was afraid of storms for a long time after that day. If I was to be in that situation again, I would never have left two of my children inside away from me.
Hurricane warning are serious. I was supposed to leave for a night away from my older kids tomorrow night. I cancelled my trip. I want to be here with them, with Koda and Summer. Together we will ride out this storm. I pray all the people on the coastline make good decisions, find safety, and are not separated from their loved ones.