Tonight our little city is experiencing a minor natural disaster.
It’s the strangest thing. The kids and I are comfortable and warm inside our house, reading books and playing with animal figurines. Our world is calm and peaceful, but all around us it sounds like a freight train is barreling by. I cringe every time I hear something hit our house and wonder how much damage I’ll find in the morning.
The power flickers off and on but when it comes in well I’m able to listen to the radio and keep somewhat abreast of the destruction going on around us. The DJs play about one song every 15 minutes and otherwise just take calls from listeners updating about the situation.
This highway is closed before exit ___, semi truck flipped over across the road. There’s a garden shed on the road next to ours. Downed trees have knocked out power lines on this road, that road, those roads.
I check my phone for service every few minutes, hoping to hear from Ryan.
He’s at work. There’s no power in his store and he’s closing with a volunteer fire fighter tonight so they sit in a dark room and listen to the firefighters’ radio. They’re no longer taking calls over downed power lines or trees, too many more serious emergencies to focus on.
Like a woman two towns over. She can’t get out of her driveway and neighbors cant’ get her down the road, too many downed trees all around them. Her husband just delivered their first baby in the living room by candle light. It makes me sick to my stomach to imagine the fear and panic surrounding their baby’s arrival, instead of the beautiful emotions they’ve been robbed of.
When I put the kids to bed, I’ll put the baby in our bed and toddler in her bed. This way no one is sleeping right by a window.
I’m generally calm, but every once in a while something bit and loud enough hits our house that I have a split second of irrational fear, wondering what I will do if one of the 50+ foot tall trees surrounding our house should fall tonight?
I try to do all the things Ryan would do if he were home. I fill up all of our empty water bottles and put them in the refrigerator. I boil water just in case. I light candles and I set flashlights in easy-to-grab places in each room. I move the garbage cans into the garage.
I finally have cell service again, just for a few minutes, and my phone is filled with text messages from Ryan. He asked me a question over an hour ago and I haven’t been able to answer. He resent it. He asked if we were okay. He said, “Please answer me as soon as you get this. There are so many firetrucks and ambulances heading towards our house. You guys ok?”
It’s a terrifying time, and it’s an affirmation that what we are working towards is right. This is not acceptable. We should be together right now, as a family. We can’t even keep in touch. Phone lines are down, cell towers are down, Internet is down. All over town and in several nearby too. People a few towns over have died tonight.
And instead of being at home safe, working together to protect our children, we’re barely able to communicate so that Ryan can waste hours in a dark building just in case one single person decides to venture out in the storm and happens to have cash for payment.
Nothing happens overnight, I know. But we’ve been working towards our dream since before the toddler’s first birthday and we’re getting so close. Someday soon we will work for ourselves.
We’ll be our own bosses, which means our boss will always put our marriage and our family first. Our boss will tell Ryan on a night like tonight, “Go home! Be with your family!” When the kids are sick the boss will say, “Feel free to go to the pediatrician with your wife and just finish this up later.”
I know that self-employment isn’t for everyone, and that’s a good thing. But it’s very much for us and tonight has completely solidified that for me.
Thanks to all of you who have supported our endeavors so far. It’s been a long road and we’re not there yet, but I have utmost faith that we will get there. You guys are the best.