I can honestly say that being a mom, has completely changed my outlook on weather, safety, and preparedness when you have children to care for and a hurricane is on the way. My husband and I got the generator ready before Hurricane Sandy was coming, filled up our cars with gas, got two gallons of milk, bread, and filled two gas cans for the generator. My three year old helped out in the yard as we put almost everything into the garage and tied down the table and chairs. During the storm, he actually asked to go outside in the wind! He didn't seem to notice how badly things were blowing. We lost power Monday night about 6 pm, right after dinner. We hung out the rest of the night by candle and Kyle couldn't understand why he could watch the Toy Story movie on the iPad, but not the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, by wifi. Books were read by candlelight and the sound machines had batteries in them. But our room, where Logan sleeps, had no sound machine and it was deadly silent. My husband, being the greatest protector one could marry, slept on the couch in case a window blew in. It was a bit scary that night, and I don't think I slept much.
Morning came, and it was time to turn the generator on. I still had very limited cell service, so I wasn't sure what was happening at my brother's, parent's or mother-in-law's houses. My friends slowly texted through the week, but the biggest news came from my friend that morning when she said, "Colleen's house was lucky, it didn't burn." She texted me, "Breezy is burning." I was in shock. I had no news, no radio, no internet, no wifi on my phone, so basically in the dark. My job was only to make sure that the boys were happy and fed, sleeping well, and totally impervious to what was really going on. Both Bryan and I were stressed. We wanted to conserve the gas for the generator, so we would only run it during the day, and turn if off in the afternoon while the boys were napping. Prepared for the storm, yes. But not prepared for the way it destroyed our Island.
The images on the news don't do the damage justice. I saw today a video of the Great South Bay, the boats tossed on top of each other like they were Matchbox toys. Our beaches and the boardwalks are ruined. We were just at Long Beach a week earlier with the boys, total calmness in the water. Flat. The calm before the storm. I kept thinking prior to Sandy's arrival, "Oh, it's a storm, we will be fine." I couldn't even imagine the damage it caused. I cannot complain one bit that we lost power for a few days, I have friends whose electric boxes were ripped off of their homes. My friend Colleen who is lucky enough to say she only has to rebuild her first floor, compared to her other family and friends homes in Breezy Point and Roxbury that burned to the ground or were washed away by the storm surge.
And now today, a Noreaster. Really? I mean come on, give us a break. It's freezing out, people have no power, more people lost the power they just got back, and people are suffering. Once again, our cars have gas, the gas cans are ready ... I am hoping our power stays on through the night.
I feel utterly useless sitting in my house, the gas shortage is causing everyone to panic and fuel up whatever they have. It's also a matter of conservation at this point, don't go anywhere unnecessary. My friends and I have started collecting donations of clothing for my friend's families in Breezy Point. But we have to get them to the families, and this weather and gas thing is getting in the way.
I am so thankful for the family and friends that I have, and for a home that is still warm. Having two little boys puts everything in perspective. I can only hope and pray for the families still suffering that their prayers are answered quickly, and that they can rebuild soon.