It is a rainy and raw Saturday in New York; the kind of day that reminds me of why Autumn is my favorite season. My mind immediately rolls back to Autumn Saturdays of my youth.
My mother and I rose early to do the weekly chores. My father went out to run errands. Momma had a pot of Great Northerns (beans) on the stove and cornbread in the oven. Storm clouds dimmed the sunlight that usually lit up the living room, which was now colored a muted gray. The raindrops tapped out a melody on the windows, and the growing wind later joined in harmony.
By the time our work was done, Daddy was back home so we sat and ate our beans and cornbread. We watched television – flipping between the news reports of the Nor’Easter that was blowing through the area, and bowling matches (hey, don’t judge – we were a bowling family!).
Quiet afternoons led to quiet nights, preparing for church the next day. I miss days like this…the smells and sounds of Autumn Saturdays.
Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy over the East Coast, courtesy of Discovery.com
For the past two weeks, the Northeastern United States and parts of the Caribbean were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. A few days later, a Nor’easter hit an already overwhelmed and hurting New York/New Jersey area, leaving anywhere from a few inches to over a foot of snow. During the hurricane, over 2 million people were without power (many are STILL without power), and the Nor’easter knocked out more power, and in some cases, knocked out the power in homes that had already had their power restored!
Fortunately, both storms were kind to my immediate family – we never lost power and did not sustain any damage to our home. Our children were out from school for the week after Sandy hit and at worst, we all suffered from a bit of cabin fever. Last year, when Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast, my family and I had just returned from our vacation and came home just in time to prepare for the pending storm. Because we were hearing last minute news, the children were not exposed to days of storm previews on the news. Clearly Sandy was much worse than Irene and the New York/New Jersey area experienced much more devastation as a result. So the television news was full of pictures of families without homes, shelters and soup kitchens being erected. I am always mindful of what my 4- and 6-year old watch on the news, so I was concerned about balancing the reality of the news with comforting my children so they would not worry. I wanted them to understand what was going on, teach them that sometimes storms can devastate communities and disrupt the lives of many, all while helping them to be appreciative of what we had survived. On a more humorous note, it was often a delicate balance, especially when they wanted to know why I had to interrupt their Power Rangers marathon in order to watch the Mayor’s press conference!
Photo courtesy of coolmomtech.com
What made me reflect on the effects of the storm on my children was a quick blog post I read earlier today on Cool Mom Tech, where the kids’ music download selection of the week was the Louis Armstrong classic, “What a Wonderful World.” Its imagery serves as a reminder to children and adults alike that despite last week’s dangerous weather, and even more dangerous political climate, we do live in a wonderful world.