We left home on Thursday night after reading that Tropical Storm Harvey, had the potential to become a category 4 hurricane. Though we are a few hours from the coast, I know how far such a big storm can reach. Our area is known to flood. And with all the power line work going on, loss of power seemed inevitable.
To be honest, we didn't even know there was a storm coming until that day. We don't have cable, we aren't checking local headlines daily, and we don't go to Facebook to get updated. My husband heard about it at a meeting just before leaving work in the morning. I heard more about it from a quick radio snip.
So while sitting at my in-laws house in Waco the next day, I felt quite foolish. We "prepared" for the storm with the intention of staying home to ride it out. As a Florida-raised lady, I have seen my fair share of storms. I laugh at native Texans who can't handle the light showers we get from time to time. So I figured we would be fine. Sure, we might get flooded in. But that's why I bought water, diapers, and food. Yes, we would most likely lose power. That's why I made the kids eat refrigerated foods during the day and bought non perishables to eat when the time came. I put towels against the base of the back door where I was sure water would come in. I started washing all the clothes and keeping the dishes cleaned up so that I wouldn't have them pile up if we lost power. I bought paper plates and cutlery as well.
But the biggest things I invested in were the portable butane grill so that we could cook little things without electricity. I bought flashlights too, to help the kids while making sure we had our candles ready. I'm thankful I had money in my savings for emergencies like this. But now it seemed like a waste. As my husband said, however, we will be ready for the next time.
Why did I prepare if we were just going to flee to Waco? We were checking the updates and seeing that the storm was building strength. It was to become a category 3 with potential to be a category 4. I know what that means. It means strong winds. It means torrential rains. For my husband, it seemed like the best option to play it safe and travel North. Put just a little more distance between us and the coast. I can agree that his logic in doing so was sound.
So I shouldn't feel so bummed out, right? After all, our family is safe. And yet... I almost wished we were back home. I have laundry that needed to be done. I had a craft to finish. I had blogging to work on. I wanted some game time on 7 Days to Die with my husband. Or even on our family Minecraft map. Instead, I was trying to keep the kids in line. I was dealing with neck pain and migraines. And I felt bad that we were imposing on the in laws last minute. Don't get me wrong, they had assured us they were happy to have us and that they felt better we were there.
(Made it back in time for their first day of school on Monday!)
But this wasn't planned. I had plans. Things I wanted to do. I'm human. I'm selfish at times. I have to remind myself that my family comes first. Their safety. Their health. Their happiness. I have to remind myself that I can do the laundry and crafts when we get back and they are asleep. Same goes for the blogging. That video games, while a great chance to bond, aren't important. And when we got home on Sunday, I could be grateful that we were safe.
A friend recently reminded me of something very important. She told me that we need to put family first, always. Chores can and will be done later. If its not urgent, let it go for a few more minutes. Spend that time with those you love. This is especially true for moms. After all, how many times do we let daily household activities consume our time? How often do we forget that the children we treasure are steadily growing and will soon leave us? My oldest is turning 9 years old in October! NINE YEARS OLD! Where has all that time gone?? I look back through the years of old photos to rebuild the memories of the times past and see so many times I forgot that he was growing up. So much of the time I told him and his siblings that I was busy and "we will see" about whether I can play this game or watch that movie with them. Times I should have taken out just a few minutes to truly enjoy them.
This storm brought that reminder home. I was so grumpy about going away from home and my plans, that I forgot why we were doing it to begin with. And then, having talked to people in my neighborhood, felt even more foolish as it didn't cause any of the issues we were thinking it would. No power loss or extreme flooding.
But I look back now and realize that I need to change my way of thinking. I need to be more selfless. I do good deeds. I raise my kids right. I love my family and friends. But do I think of others more than myself? Do I put others before myself on a regular basis? Now that I think about it, no. Not enough anyhow. Do you?
Prayers for those who dealt more closely with the storm. I've been donating when and how I can. My heart hurts when I see the news of the devastation. I thank God my family was kept safe. Especially when I didn't get to do what I planned.