How My Family Weathered Hurricane Sandy
Living in New England, my family and I were lucky to have survived Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed. We didn’t lose power, internet, or satellite TV. We didn’t lose a single tree, shrub or shingle. Houses just a few blocks away were not so lucky, but for some reason, we seemed to have escaped the storm well. Even my sisters who live in Manhattan, Westchester and on Connecticut’s coastline all survived very well. I know that many thousands more were not so fortunate, and that for hundreds of families, this storm was fatal, so I put my storm experience in perspective. But for my little family, experiencing our first two school cancellation days, I learned so much about my daughter, stress and work/life balance, that I have to admit to welcoming the disruption and the lessons I learned from it.
First, I learned that the first two months of Kindergarten have been a lot for my daughter to manage. Apparently, she needed a break. Even that first day off, with no school, no soccer, no grocery shopping, and just nothing to do, seemed to completely rejuvenate her. After the second day off, her usually grumpy morning self was a distant memory. She has been social, cooperative, and just plain old happy every morning since. I know it won’t last, but the storm blew in a much needed change of pace for her.
Second, I learned that I kind of liked having my daughter at my office. On Tuesday afternoon, I took my daughter out to lunch, just to get us out of the house, and on a whim I asked if she’d like to come into work with me. I was sick and tired of trying to do all my work stuff via blackberry, and I just wanted to connect. While it could never be an everyday thing, for one afternoon it was a great experience. I was very busy, so she really got to see me in action, and I got to see her resourceful, confident, and creative side in a new way. She made paperclip earrings that she taped to her ears, occupied herself at the white board in our kitchen doing math problems, and when I asked her if she’d be okay if I left her in my office while I went to the bathroom, she told me, “Don’t worry, Mommy. If someone I don’t know says “hi” to me, I’ll yell, ‘I don’t know you!'”
Third, I learned to appreciate my child care center and the staff there soooooo much. All of the above-mentioned lessons were made possible because my son’s child care center was open as long as they could be on Monday, and after a delayed start on Tuesday to enable a clean up of the playground, they opened the doors as well. I never would have been able do a fraction, if any, of my work, with my adorable, but active toddler at home. And he would have gone stir crazy with no space to run and throw balls, and jump around.
My heart goes out to those who suffered so much devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and I feel extremely fortunate to be taking just some small, everyday life lessons.