So, last week I met my first hurricane. Its name was Matthew. I have long stood solid on the fact that when you both name a storm and then proceed to give it a number, that is not a good sign. I feel like what we’re doing is becoming emotionally attached to the storm. I don’t want that kind of connection. We don’t name earthquakes. We refer to the town it showed up in, or the year it happened. Mostly in hushed tones, “you remember the quake of ’92…” we’re not attached, we’re very clinical. This is not the case in south Florida.
Perhaps, you (if you are a south Florida native) are use to this naming and numbering phenomena, I, however, am not. I’m just not comfortable with it.
Keep in mind that I come from a place that a dear friend of mine refers to as ‘a natural disaster theme park’. California has mudslides, avalanches, rockslides, fires, earthquakes and droughts. Here is the thing tho, I’m quite familiar with those issues. I know how to evacuate, I know what the plan is. I don’t know what the plan is here…
AND besides all that, those things, for the most part, just happen. There is no week’s worth of warning for an earthquake. You just get up ready to have a day and then you have an earthquake instead. That’s what you do. I’m pretty sure the local news told me last week that I may or may not make it past Thursday at 1am… hmmmmm. (Rolls eyes dramatically at the entire state of Florida).
In honor of my first hurricane, I would like to dispel a few rumors that you south Florida locals seem to proliferate. I would like you all to know that:
1. All my friends think ‘hurricane parties’ are a thing. As a voice of reason I would like to say you should not have a party, hurricanes are serious business, this is not a game… focus people.
2. It is not kind to tell your Californian friends things like ‘good luck’ as you walk away from them before the storm. This creates confusion.
3. When your good (Californian) friend calls you and asks whether this state even does mandatory evacuations or whether they’ll tell us if we should go, using words like “they’ll have to pry my cold dead hands from my house” is also not super helpful.
4. When someone calls (hypothetically me) and says, “I just need to know if the roof is going to come off, is it one of those kinds of storms”, your response should never be, “maybe, maybe not, you don’t really know.” This is not helpful.
5. And finally, I’m pretty sure a “storm surge” is not a real thing. If you mean tsunami, just say it. Don’t confuse the non-locals with made up words.
These portraits are my “fall” images of my two sweet boys. I’m sharing them in this blog because as light hearted as I’m being about this past week’s events, when you’re standing in your house making a decision about what to keep out of all my worldly possessions and when I’m thinking of driving away and deciding what do I put in the car, priorities get really focused. Nothing is as important as people. But even more than that, nothing is more important to me personally than these two people and their dad.
We can rebuild houses, but people matter, people have value that can’t be replaced.
I did pretty well through my week, although I embarrassingly admit the only time I got a little teary eyed was when I was looking through my kids massive book collection trying to decide which we’d bring knowing my husband would veto a car full of kids books. Sigh. And one of my favorite light hearted moments of the week was when I had one of my brides say, and I quote; “you won’t die, you wuss” and another (on the same day) offer her home for an evacuation on the west coast of Florida. Both equally made my day, and dried up my tears.
One last note, although we were spared last week many were not. One of the hardest impacted places is the country of Haiti (again). We may be separated by a bit of water but in south Florida, they are our next door neighbors and in desperate need of help. If you are looking for a way to help care for the beautiful people of Haiti, I would encourage you to consider giving to this organization, The MAN DODO Foundation. It is a foundation started by a dear friend’s family, as well as being a grassroots organization that will get food and medication to those who truly need it.
Hug the people you love today, we have much to be grateful for.