I was in my building all day last Tuesday, and didn’t realize a huge storm rolled over us. So I was a little stunned by how dark, eerie, and quiet, and drenched everything was outside when I left my office. This is the photo I took that day. That storm cloud over the Capitol was constantly lighting up, too. Very cool.
There were interesting clouds over the Native American museum yesterday evening when I left my office. So I took the long way home, walking down the Mall to another Metro station, to see what the sunset was doing to the other landmarks.
Trying to spring clean with three children in the house is a massive exercise in futility. I do pat myself on the back, though, for pulling myself out of bed with the idea I could be successful and get stuff done today. One should never lose hope, right? Continue reading →
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] A [/dropcap] giant winter storm system rolled over the Washington DC area last night. In areas north of us, it snowed, but for the most part, it was just rainy and *crazy* windy in the DC metro area. And when I say crazy, I mean CRAZY.
Before I lived here, I never thought much about the wind. But in the past two years, five friends in this area have had giant trees fall onto their homes or driveways because of the wind here, destroying property and requiring two of them to move out of their homes temporarily while entire walls and roofs were rebuilt. Our own trees took a beating from the derecho and slew of hurricanes, and we’ve lost entire tree limbs, as well as a few of the smaller trees around our home after they toppled over.
I find it fitting that in an area with such a transient population, not even the trees have very deep roots here.
Given this history, wind makes me nervous. And last night’s wind reached up to 61 miles per hour at nearby Dulles Airport, knocking over trees, street signs, and causing power outages. Even the lights at the Capitol were knocked out.
High winds are causing power surges that impacted Capitol. AOC staff repaired & will monitor throughout night. pic.twitter.com/sZlT1BTm1O
Needless to say, it was a crazy night, and no matter how much I tried to convince myself that the sound of the branches ripping against my windows was soothing, I was not going to sleep any time soon. I was convinced that at any moment, one of our gorgeous trees was going to smash through the roof and into our bedrooms.
To keep my mind off that idea, I surfed the Internet. Tried to read a book. Kept pulling the curtains back to check on the trees in my yard, repeating some Ani DiFranco tunes in my head.
“Buildings and bridges are made to bend in the wind to withstand the world, that’s what it takes. All that steel and stone is no match for the air, my friend, what doesn’t bend breaks, what doesn’t bend breaks…”
Eventually, I got up and checked on the kids. I didn’t want to wake them, of course, especially since it took the girls a little bit longer to fall asleep. Both of them were unnerved by the howling gusts of wind. They remember the damage from other storms. I wasn’t surprised to see them snuggled up together in Lola’s bed, a book open at their feet where Miss C had read stories to her sister to calm her down.
I quietly tip-toed to Jaz’s bedroom to check on him. I first looked out the window, eyeing the trees and the neighbors’ sports flags and basketball net flapping around. Jaz was sound asleep, curled up under his Superman blanket. I tucked it tighter around him, and then slowly tiptoed out the door and into the hallway.
Where I nearly tripped over Miss C.
I’ve written before how my kids give me heart attacks at night. That was a heart attack. I hadn’t heard her get up to use the bathroom, but she was on her way back to her room. Just as I opened my mouth to say something to her, a huge gust of wind blew against the house, rattling the windows and siding of our house. Miss C’s eyes grew big.
“Are you okay?” I asked her. She lifted her shoulders in a shrug, but another gust of wind hit the house, and she instinctively stepped forward to me.
“This wind is scary,” she admitted.
“Do you want to come hop in bed with me?” I asked. Her face broke out in a smile and with much more energy than I expected, she bounced into my room as if that was the original plan. Martin snored like a lump on his side, so I snuggled up beside him in the middle as she took my usual corner.
“Remember when you slept with us all the time?” I asked her. “You were this little body that completely took over the bed. And now? You’re almost as tall as me, and just require a corner. How does that work?”
“I know. You guys couldn’t kick me out,” she said.
And it’s true. In fact, it used to be a big disagreement between Martin and me. I never minded having her sleep with us. Growing up, I always felt safest snuggled up between my Mom and Dad, and it broke my heart when I deployed, knowing that Miss C would be jumping into our bed, expecting two parents, but not finding me there. It really bothered me. When I returned home, I refused to even argue with Martin about it – Miss C could sleep with us any time she wanted.
And for a few months after I returned home, that was nearly every single night.
Eventually, though, she grew to prefer her own bedroom again, and then we moved into our current home, and she got my old bunk bed, which she looooved immediately, and that was pretty much the end of the family bed arrangement.
Except during thunderstorms.
If it was loud and violent enough, I knew that I would wake up in the morning to find an extra body buried in the blankets alongside me.
And yet, even that stopped, too.
I just didn’t realize so much time had passed since then until last night. As we listened to the wind blow around us, we talked about different storms, and how I was terrified of thunderstorms right up until the summer she was born, and I had to convince myself it was time to be the parent, and parents aren’t scared of storms … she already heard the story a hundred times before, but didn’t mind at all that I shared it again. Only this time, I admitted to that I was still nervous about the storms, obviously.
“I can’t sleep either,” I told her. ‘I worry too much about the trees and keeping you guys safe.”
She turned her head and smiled at me.
“Well, then, let me talk to you now, too,” she said. She recalled some of her favorite storm memories, and the funny stories I used to tell her to distract her. As she spoke, I scratched her back like I used to do until she stopped talking and was softly snoring, finally at peace with the wind outside.