Husband said it best today. "Before our daughter, I probably cried a handful of times in my life. But, now that I'm a father, I am moved to tears more than ever before."
Parenthood. It changes you.
Today, I paid someone to mow our lawn. I paid some bills online. I rocked my daughter. I did laundry and cooked a nice meal. It was a normal day. Except instead of watching movies or terrible daytime television, I was glued to footage of our state, of the aftermath of one of the worst tornadoes I have seen in my lifetime, and I was grateful. My friends and family are safe. All accounted for. We are fine, but so many people aren't. I do not cry out in the night for my loved ones. But, as I type this, my husband is searching a neighborhood with flashlight in hand, for the mother of a friend, who is still missing.
I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama where tornadoes in springtime are as common as pollen. Countless times, I sat in the school hallway with a book over my head or in the hallway at home with pillows, blankets, and flashlights listening intently to the radio updates. As a child, it was great fun, a family slumber party. My climbing tree fell on our house once, but I don't think I ever fully grasped the level to which each siren sound could bring with it devastation.
As I sat last night in the basement bathtub, clutching my 9 week old daughter in the flickering candlelight, I felt a level of anxiety I have never felt before. Before the lights shuttered and the tv screen turned dark, I watched the live coverage as the tornado blew through Tuscaloosa. Without power, I was unsure of the direction in which it was headed, but knew it had to be close. I listened to the wind howl outside and I feared for my daughter. All I wanted to do was protect her from harm and I worried my best wouldn't be good enough. Husband was stuck at work and I felt the unnerving level of fear I felt the day C was born while he was miles away. Our lives just don't work without him.
It missed us by a mere 2 miles. It had nothing to do with the god we may or may not believe in or how hard we prayed or what kind of people we are. By sheer luck, the winds shifted and the tornado spared our home. But it hit so many others. My heart is heavy for our state. For those who mourn the loss of loved ones. For those who wander the streets searching for the missing. I watch my daughter sleep soundly and I weep for those who lost their child. This event has changed our seemingly unrecognizable state. Our home and our daily lives may remain unchanged; but my heart. My heart weeps.