Yep. I said it. Kiss my booty! If you know me well at all, you know I gave up my cussin-like-a-sailor days long ago, so that’s about as potty-mouthed as I get.
Seriously though, I dread this time of year. Stupid tornadoes. Stupid Kansas weather. After last night’s fiasco, I am ready to throw in the towel and move somewhere with no risk of natural disaster. (If you know of such a place, let me know. And send me the names of any good Realtors in the area.)
Obviously, I’m so grateful that the tornado that tore through our community last night didn’t cause total devastation and loss of life. I know how lucky we are, and I thank God for it. But I need to vent a little. Need to get this stress off my chest (although I have to be careful about unloading too much off my chest, because I need all the help I can get in that area).
I should preface this story by letting you know I am terrified of tornadoes. I have nightmares nearly every night about trying to find shelter in random places as a massive wedge-shaped twister bears down on my location. I hate tornadoes. Hate. Hate. Hate.
One Nightmare of a Night
I had a feeling that last night wasn’t going to be good for my neck of the woods. Call it intuition, or call it repeated warnings from the National Weather Service for a week leading up to the disaster. (I like to think it was intuition, so just throw me a bone, ok?)
My husband is a volunteer firefighter (God bless him), so I knew he would be out on storm watch, and I would be alone with the girls. We only have a crawl space, no basement, so I made arrangements with some good friends who live about a mile away so we could stay the night there. They have a view-out basement with a storm shelter, so I felt much safer with that arrangement.
I got Erica to sleep around 8 p.m., and had Anna winding down in her jammies around 9 p.m. when we all were notified of a massive tornado headed right in our direction. My friends’ daughter also happens to be Anna’s best friend, so they were playing and laughing in the basement, completely unaware of the impending danger. We tucked them away in the storm shelter under the stairs, with an Elmo DVD in the portable player, and a bag of Doritos (don’t judge, it kept them occupied.) Meanwhile, I woke my sleeping baby up from her Pack N’ Play, and snuggled her close as we paced and waited.
Then, we lost power. We lit a few candles, and turned on some battery-powered lanterns. (My one shining-mom moment was bringing the portable DVD player with a fully charged battery, so the girls were busy for a little while.) Let me paint a picture of the scene in the basement:
Two rambunctious two-year-olds, up way past their bedtime, hopped up on Doritos and Rolos, running rampant through a candlelit basement. An almost one-year-old toddling around after them, vacillating between crying and laughing as she was overly tired, but thrilled with the entertainment. Throw into the mix my nine-month pregnant friend, chasing after her daughter, and helping me keep up with mine. (I kept reminding her that now would be a very bad time to go into labor.)
At this point, we really didn’t have a clue what was going on. The power was out. My cellphone was dead, and the only person with a working cell phone wasn’t getting great coverage. All I knew was that I had to keep my family safe, and that my husband was out in this mayhem. I was worried sick about him. The entire evening was a blur of toddler shrieking, mothers pacing and prayers uttered under my breath (I asked Anna to pray with me at one point, but she just said, “No thanks, we’re watching Elmo.”)
Little did we know that only a few miles away, a 3/4 mile wide tornado was ripping through homes of friends and community members. Little did we know that same tornado would continue its patch of devastation into Wichita and beyond, forever changing the lives of thousands.
God blessed my little family and my little community last night. While I can’t imagine what our friends who lost their homes are going through, I’m just grateful that their lives were spared, and that’s ultimately what matters. I have so many other memories from last night that I’d like to share, but I’m exhausted. Not too exhausted, however, to remind future tornadoes that I don’t want them around, and that they can officially, without question, kiss my booty!