Hurricane Irene spares us - sighs of relief as storm passes with little damage


The "little beach" we left behind before Irene hit

It's hard to believe that just yesterday, Hurricane Irene was bearing down upon us with driving wind and torrential rain.  It's also hard to believe that although there is devastation all around us, we have been spared.  The trees didn't fall, our basement didn't flood and we didn't lose power. 

While my husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Irene blew out to take her fury further north, our little ones were a bit disappointed.

For starters, they couldn't understand why we had to bail out on our last summer weekend on the Cape.  I was a bit reluctant to head home myself.  Saturday was hazy, hot and humid and we spent the morning on the beach, soaking up the last of summer's rays before heading home ahead of the storm.  Explaining the perils of a pending hurricane is a fool's errand when you have a minivan full of tired tots who'd rather be building sand castles.  

As the sky darkened and the guy on the radio spoke of the storm's impact further south, our kids seemed to get the gist of it.  While our minivan barreled south on 95 toward New York, they seemed to slowly start to understand what was coming.  We spoke of the subway shutting down, of windows boarded up and of the potential loss of power.  It was the loss of power that really caught their interest.  They were intrigued by the notion of living by candlelight and we had a lively conversation about what we might eat if we had no power for a few days... peanut butter and jelly, cereal with milk (as long as the milk lasted), and raisins topped their list.

We also had a neat little chat about what it meant to "hunker down". According to dictionary.com, to "hunker down" is to squat on one's heels; to hide, hide out or take shelter.  This notion was especially intriguing to them as we discussed the possibility of all hunkering down and sleeping together in our living room... Mom and Dad would get the pull out couch, Liam and Ciara would snuggle in their sleeping bags and Kevin, Declan and Cormac could camp out in their pack & plays.  We would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by candlelight, perhaps while singing songs and telling stories.

Now, if that's not an idealized view of hurricane preparation, I don't know what is.  It's really a blessing to see the world (including natural disasters!) through the eyes of a child... or, in my case, five of them.  It's also a blessing that Hurricane Irene was kind to us.  And, for all those who are suffering the after-effects, I wish them the best and hope they might find some sort of a silver lining... something our kids are always prone to see.


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