We have been bombarded with disasters.
Blizzards. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Floods. Tornados (in Massachusetts!). Forest fires. Oil Spills. Nuclear meltdowns. Now the dire predictions of an active hurricane season...
It seems like every day I see another town flattened by a devastating event. I mean, destroyed. Rubble fields where there were once subdivisions. Death tolls. It is so overwhelming it can be too much to process.
Zoe saw one of the horrific tornado scenes on the news, (sad, but I cannot remember which one there have been SO many), and we had a talk about tornado safety. Looking at the damage, how can you be safe in that? How can you reassure your 9 year old, with as crazy an imagination as you have, that you CAN survive this.
We try to raise our kids to believe in a wonderful world, but that's just not always true. How do we break this news to them?
One thing I'll always remember about September 11, 2001, is when my sister was watching the collapse of the World Trade Centers, and her then 7 year old son asked, "Mom, is this a movie? Is that real? What's happening?" She reassured him that he was safe, and that yes, there are bad people out there, just like in 'Star Wars'.
I was a week pregnant at the time. When I did find out we were having a baby, I thought, 'Oh My. What kind of world are we bringing a baby into'?
Then I thought, well, I was born during the Vietnam War.
My mom was born during WWII.
There's no perfect time to have a baby.
A few weeks ago, it was 'foretold' (yet again) that the end of the world was nigh. Those faithful (to what, I am not sure) would be raptured while all the rest of us sinners would be left here, amongst the zombies. (Where did zombies come into play here, anyway?) People threw Rapture parties where I can only hope they served Kool-Aid and that Nike shoes were mandatory.
In light of all this devastation, are thoughts of the End of Days totally out of line?
I mentioned to my friend Lisa how this was all weighing on me, and she reminded me of when our town was hit by a micro-burst. It blew down 100s of trees and knocked out power to half the town. The emergency response teams were out immediately, doing such an amazing job. Neighbors helped fill sandbags to stop 'Lake Owen' (aka Owen Street) from reaching houses. People walked from house to house checking that their neighbors were OK and helping where needed.
Afterwards, BBQs were held to eat food before it spoiled. Neighbors ran power lines across the streets from those with power to those without. Seeing this sense of community can help kids feel they belong, and are safe.
It's often in the worst of times that you see the amazing side of human nature. Heroes are born, even if that hero is bringing over cookies and a mop.
If the thought of covering your windows with duct tape doesn't quell your anxiety (remember that was their advice to us?), I found this government checklist from "Ready America" with great ideas for preparedness- like having a weather radio, extra pet food and can openers, not just blankets and water (and tape).
There is real danger out there, and one of our main duties as parents is to prepare our kids to have the wherewithall to face it head first and have the capacity to cope; to help others when needed and to receive that help if you are in need. And to be prepared as best we can.