Mother Nature can bring us beautiful sunrises and sunsets, breathtaking mountain views, and flowers of every color. But she is not always our friend. I remember paralyzing blizzards and ice storms whose dazzle was breathtaking, yet dangerous. You were excited to have a day off from school. I was glad to have you home for some snow fun, except for the year when you were all home for an entire week. That was awful!
Hurricane Floyd came to town in 1999 and rendered us without power for days. Dad and I sent all of you to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to sleep while the two of us stayed behind. We slept in the basement to bail the water when the sump pump could not keep pace with the infiltration of water into the house. As was our tradition when we lost power, we went to Boston Market for dinner. But the effects were temporary and life went on for us and all of our friends.
Jamie returned to New Jersey in 2011 and had to endure the wrath of hurricanes Irene and Sandy. With so many of our friends and family in the Garden State, my heart was with them all as they lived through both storms.
Now we are in South Carolina and it is not a hurricane, but the related moisture that brought in hurricane-like rain without the corresponding wind. Kelly had a wedding to shoot on Saturday, and while the brunt of the storm did not arrive until she was safely home that night, I still worried for her safety, knowing she would be traveling unfamiliar roads alone in the dark. Once you are a parent, you cannot turn off the concern. It is just impossible!
We have not been impacted by this storm as much as Floyd. Our pantry, refrigerator and freezer is always full; you laugh at us for that all the time. We bought extra water, boiled it as instructed, and cautiously stayed inside as we watched others venture outside ignoring the warnings to stay safe. Dad has been worrying about the safety of our nearby dam.
The news reports have been heartbreaking as we watch the floodwaters rise, the dams break, and see people losing their belongings and their homes. Unlike Floyd, I fear that life will not go back to normal in the foreseeable future. I am saddened by what I see but hopeful as I watch the kindness of strangers and hope that our friends in New Jersey do not blame the legislators from South Carolina who voted “NO” for Sandy relief. I was embarrassed, saddened and ashamed when that happened here and thought, “When that happens here someday (and I knew it would), I hope we are not punished by the stupidity of a few.” I have confidence that this will not happen. I believe that most people–the cashier at the store, the police officer, teacher, and the stranger that I wave to as I pass them on the street–are compassionate.
Bryce is too young to understand how lucky he is. Our governor has a press conference, and the boredom puts him to sleep. He is forced to stay inside, and when the rain stops briefly, he is taken outside and says, “yea, outside!”
For the most part, I love my new state and hope we can rebuild. But for now, I am just sad.