Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What we really need in stormy weather

This morning, my daughter got up and tiptoed downstairs.  She's a dancer and spends most of her days on her tiptoes, either that, or she is going to ninja school at night.  Her first question was

"Daddy, is Isaac a cateory 1 or category 2 storm?"

Lucky for me, I was able to smile, wrap her in a warm hug, and tell her, "No sweetie, Isaac hasn't become a hurricane, yet." Good news for us and for the city of New Orleans. 

This isn't my daughter's first hurricane-she has ridden out small ones and evacuated for Katrina, Rita, and Gustav.  But this year is different-for me and for her.  For me, there is so much more information.  Up-to-the-second accounts of windspeeds, rainfall amounts, potential landfall locations.  Twitter has become a really powerful (and, honestly, useful) tool, but it has its downside.

All of this information rachets up the tension levels-while making us feel like we constantly need more.  It almost feels like an addition.

For my daughter, the last major preparation was for Hurricane Gustav.  That was four years ago-a four-year-old's concerns and an eight-year-old's are completely different.

My daughter's question made me think about what we really need in stormy weather.  Here is a short list of my thoughts this morning.
  1. We need to know - hiding from information or hiding information from others leads to bad decisions and greater worry.
  2. But not all of the time - for hurricanes, in particular, changes are measured in hours and days, not minutes.  Nothing meaningful is going to change between 8:01 and 8:03.  Have breakfast.  Do the crossword.  Watch a cartoon.
  3. We need love and support - from our friends and family.  We can get through most any situation when we have these two (speaking from Katrina experience).
A hug is more important than catching the latest storm track.  Grab one today.

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