We had a trip to Memphis (home of a certain Bubby) planned for over a month. Tickets had been purchased. Lists had been made. Supplies had been obtained. The date of said trip? Monday the 29th, the day Hurricane Sandy came ashore to the east coast. We live on the east coast.
Flashback to the previous Thursday. I was speaking with my father on the phone and he asked me if I had been paying attention to the weather. “What, like I should bring sweaters, too?” I said. I wish it had been a simple matter of sweaters. He informed me that there was a gnarly looking couple of storm systems (my words, not his) that were likely to converge and create a really big, bad storm. “Okay,” I thought. “It’s the weather. Weather reports are wrong all the time. They will be wrong again and we will be flying out of Reagan Monday morning and arriving in Memphis in the afternoon.”
Friday afternoon, about an hour before Shabbos, I ran to the corner store to stock up on water and batteries. Just in case. Or something. I was still in denial about the impending bad weather. I thought, “If I purchase water and batteries, it’s totally like bringing an umbrella on a cloudy day. It will ward off the storm, and come Monday, we will be getting on that plane.”
Saturday night I made a quick run to Target for some canned goods. As another “umbrella.” Because you never be too careful. They were almost completely out of water. My husband received an email from Delta informing us that, due to the weather, we would be allowed to reschedule our flight without a fee.
Sunday morning my husband left for work. I spoke with my father and introduced one plan my husband had brainstormed: Cancel our tickets and drive out that evening. Beat the storm. Get out of dodge. Dad was on board with the plan; I busted out the suitcase and started packing. Around eleven o’clock, I called my husband to re-discuss the plan. He said he’d think about it. Neither of us wanted to drive in nasty weather. For the next six hours I alternated between packing, parenting, peering at the sky and phoning my dad for weather and travel updates. It became apparent that if we didn’t leave that night, we might not make our trip to Memphis. At five o’clock, I was ready to start packing the car. It was kind of a now or never moment. I called my husband to see where he was holding with decision-making. He was on board. Time to rock and roll.
My husband’s work actually let him go home early, ’cause they’re amazing like that. He came home, ate a quick dinner, checked his email, saw that our flight was cancelled and printed out some directions (we’re old school. Actually, our GPS was stolen last June and we just haven’t replaced it). We buckled the kids into their car seats and embarked upon our journey just as it was beginning to sprinkle. We drove through the drizzly hills of West Virginia until about midnight. After a fairly restful evening in a motel, we covered the remainder of the fifteen-hour trip the next day.
The kids slept for a good portion of our adventure.
In keeping with the gratitude meme flying around Facebook, I’m so grateful we were able to be spontaneous and make the trip. I grateful to Hashem for making the preparations easy. The hashgacha on Sunday was tangible – the kids played by themselves for much longer than usual; one of the neighbor kids came over; a friend also stopped by (a friend who didn’t mind being ignored, which is to say, a GREAT friend), and so I was able to pack for the trip and load the car before my husband came home from work.
I’m grateful for spending time with family. For the smiles on my children’s faces.
I’m grateful for sunny skies and playgrounds.
I’m grateful for brothers
And for the party favor aisle in Target for supplying T-Rexes for them
Most of all, I’m grateful that I get to be their mother. What an endless blessing.