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the mommyhood memos: a journal from the storm

Saturday, February 5, 2011

a journal from the storm

It’s 8:59pm on Wednesday February 2, 2011. As I sit here on my couch in the dark I can hear gale force winds out my windows and surrounding our home. Our house is prepared, our canned food is ready, our water is bottled. We did our best to communicate with friends and family before we lost touch with the outside world. First, the internet went. Then, the power. At the moment we still have our phone service and running water.  I’ve got my computer screen dimmed way down low and I’m typing as fast as I can in order to use as little battery life as possible. It could be days before we have power again.

But this is a time that I want to record while it’s fresh, while I’m in it.

They say history is unfolding today…

Waiting for a storm like this to come is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’m not scared. But I am alert. My senses are heightened. I’m aware of potential danger. I’m glad that my boys are both safely asleep in the other room where I will join them soon.

It was so strange to pack up our passports and important documents this morning while the sun was still shining and there was only a gentle summer breeze dancing through our hallways. I packed another bag with sentimental stuff – love letters, over a decade worth of hand-written journals, and film negatives that have not been transferred into digital format. (Guess what I’ll be doing when this all passes?) We’ve also packed a small suitcase with a few baby clothes, plenty of diapers, a couple books and toys for Levi, a change of clothes for Ryan and I, my contacts and glasses, and our toothbrushes. On the table sits a box with extra batteries, matches, flashlights, packing tape, rope, a lantern, and a handheld radio.

We are as ready as we can be.

Most likely the storm will pass us and just leave us with messy yards and some leaks around our windows. But at times like this you don’t want to be complacent and you certainly don’t want to be blindsided. You’d be a fool to not take the warnings seriously. It’s all over the news that this is the worst cyclone in the history of Australia and we must be prepared to evacuate if necessary. It’s been compared to Hurricane Katrina. That alone is frightening. It’s so strange to imagine that we’ll be a part of it… that we are a part of it.

I always wanted to be a “history maker” but this was not exactly what I had in mind.

We ate our rapidly melting ice cream tonight and thought about all the food in our fridge and freezer that we will lose without electricity. But that’s nothing compared to those who will lose homes and properties and businesses during the next 24-48 hours.

God we pray for your intervention. We pray for your protection. Release grace in every form over this great land and these strong people.

When I put Levi to bed tonight he immediately screamed. It was different-sounding cry than I had ever heard from him before. I immediately went back in and picked him up. As soon as I did he went totally still and silent as he relaxed in my arms with his little arms around my neck.

Our perceptive little man—though he doesn’t understand—certainly knows that something is not quite right.

I took the opportunity to rock him to sleep and hold him a little longer than necessary. It’s times like these that your priorities are brought into sharp focus. I’m not sure if I’ve ever delighted as much to hold him as I did in that moment.

He’s sleeping with us tonight. No way do I want even a wall between me and any of the ones I love most.

And now I get ready to shut my computer and curl up into bed for the night. It’s completely black except for the very dim glow of my computer screen, and it’s completely quiet except for the sounds of wind and trees and rain… and some creaking and banging outside. Actually, I guess that makes it not at all quiet.

It’s raging all around us.

Yasi is due to hit shore in two hours time. It’s then that the surges are forecasted to really start. So far we’ve not had as much rain here locally as I would have expected, but the night is still young and there is much to yet unfold.

I am an unusual mix of curious and excited and edgy right now. Not edgy in the nervous sense, but edgy like you are in a thriller – on the edge of your seat, not wanting to miss a thing, ready to be surprised or startled at any moment, and yet strangely enjoying the thrill of it all.

We’ve done what we could… and now we wait and pray.

Dear God, may your strong hands of protection be over us tonight. And may you be close to those who are in even greater need than we are.


adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2010 
do not reproduce without written permission

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At February 5, 2011 at 6:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Adriel. I guess that's the difference between a writer and a non-writer - it would never occur to me to want to capture that experience even while it's being played out, yet I am so glad you did. And though it's after the fact to read this, it helps to know your mindset as you prepared and then waited for what was coming. You continue to amaze.



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