Friday, August 26, 2011


This hurricane Irene is giving me major agita. We are supposed to drive our niece up to college tomorrow along with her stuff, and the rest of our son's stuff, which he packed in our car before he left this morning. He traveled up by bus as he has an appointment with his advisor. He's changing majors from to pre med, but the real truth of it is, his friends have been texting him all week asking when he'll be back to help get the party started. Sunday we are supposed to take both kids shopping for the household stuff they still need, since they are both be moving into apartments and will be cooking for themselves this year. Then we drive back Monday.

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?

It's now 6 p.m. My girl and the rest of the team are on a bus heading home. The new plan is my mom is going to stay with Aunt Winnie during the storm and our daughter will travel upstate with us. My aunt's home attendant will be there to assist my mom with meals and baths, and my mom will be good company for her, as my aunt doesn't talk anymore; she is in a sort of waking coma, declining visibly every day. My mom says she does not feel up to a 5-hour road trip so I have spent today laying in supplies for her and my aunt, including non perishables in case power goes out. And my husband has taped up seams around the windows and put fresh batteries in the flashlights, placing one next to my mom's bed, one next to her chair, and one on the kitchen table.

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.


  1. I hope that your mom and aunt are alright and your home as well. I was okay until friday night, and then I started panicking. So far so good though.
    Take care!

  2. I have that same feeling when someone says something about God being with us. I remember all those who didn't make it through their disasters and if God was with them and why and how...