I shouted to the kids to get downstairs. They could see the panic on my face and ran without a question asked. I gathered up some flashlights, candles and my cell phone and rushed to the basement. I flipped on the T.V. and fervently changed the channel to find a weather report. Naturally, this took forever because the remote can NEVER be found. I got it to a channel with a weather update long enough to see loads of red and yellow on the radar and hear the words "severe weather warning." The power went out. With tears streaming down her face, Grace inquired about what was happening. I calmly reassured her it was nothing, and we'd have lights again soon. I reached Chris on his cell. He was on his way home. We only talked for a minute which mostly consisted of expleted deletives on his part as he was being pelleted by depris on the highway. He advised us to remain downstairs because "this crap's bad." Trying to wrangle a frightened five year old, a fussy baby and a two year old who likes to imitate whatever the most annoying behavior is at the time proved to be more of a challenge then I anticipated. We attempted to sing some songs but were interrupted by eardrum rupturing bolts of thunder followed by shrills of terror from the kids. I began to tell them stories of thunderstorms when I was their age, but Grace wasn't interested in the stories. She strictly wanted to know the end result. "Did you get hurt? Did anyone get hurt? Did the lights ever come back on? I'm scared." I felt like screaming.
I was scared, too. I had endured several storms in my 27 years and had comed out no worse for the wear. This one was different. I wasn't scared for just myself. I was terrified for my babies, but I had to act strong. I was worried for Chris who was out driving in this catastrophe. I worried for the safety of our families, our friends, our house. I was overcome with fear. The storm and the path and intesity of it's destruction were completely out of my control. I am a certified control-freak. This scared the bejeebies out of me. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry until it was over. Not an option, though. Instead, I took all of the kids in my arms, and we prayed.
Within minutes, Chris was home and the storm passed. The sky turned the most uniquely stunning color. We watched a spectacular display of distant, very distant lightening. When it was all said and done, we made it through with only a few shingles missing and no electricity for FIVE days. Those things I can live without. My family, I cannot.
Minutes after the storm.