My daughter has been at her soccer preseason camp at a boarding school upstate all week. She was so torn. She loves playing soccer and being on the team, but she was really ready to just be home with everyone after her summer away at camp. The team was supposed to return tomorrow night. As we were supposed to be gone by then, the plan was that she would take the subway home, get my mom, bring her to our apartment, and look out for her until we return on Monday. When I asked her to bring her grandma over to stay with her for the weekend, she said, "Mom, I'm 17. Does Grandma really need to babysit me?" "No," I said. "You need to grannysit her." My mom enjoyed that one.
But then Irene whipped up her high wind souffle. Darn. How do I leave my 89-year-old mother and 17-year-old daughter alone in a hurricane? They say it's a fierce one, too, a Category 3 with the eye of the storm passing right up Fifth Avenue. They're giving warnings about projectiles hitting windows. They say if the windows start to shake, retreat at once to the public hallways. The supermarkets are jam packed this morning as people try to lay in supplies.
At just before noon, our daughter's soccer coach emailed to say they're trying to get buses to bring the girls home today. But the bus company is besieged with such requests, so the team may still not leave till tomorrow morning. Subways, buses and bridges will all be closed down at noon tomorrow. So I really hope the soccer girls manage to get buses home today. And now the other questions. Do we wait and drive upstate Monday, riding out the storm in the city and delivering our niece late to school? Do we take my daughter and mother with us, since the town we're heading to will be north and east of Irene's predicted path?
I'm so weak-kneed grateful to my aunt's home attendant. I feel terribly guilty leaving my mom, but she insists they will be fine, that we should go ahead and get the kids set up for school before classes start next week. And of course I want to do that, I take comfort in getting them well settled in for the year, making sure they have what they need. They don't really need me to do all that. It's me who needs that transition, that incremental goodbye, see you later, have a good year.
So we are leaving early on Saturday morning as planned. And I am hoping that Irene will be but a whimper by the time she reaches the city, that all this frantic preparation will be met with a fizzzle of rain, nothing more. My mother says serenely, "God will be with us." As I secretly do when she says this, I wonder about all the people who might not come through okay, and I wonder if God is with them too. I have no answers. I'm just grateful she isn't afraid.