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  • The Storm

    April 10, 2008

    Last night, around 3am, tornado sirens sliced through the darkness like a buzz saw, whirring and whining in their circular way. “GETUUUUP!  getuuuup!  GETUUUUP!  getuuuuuup!” they screamed.

    An old tree outside my bedroom window strained against the wind and creaked and groaned in pain.  Its heavy branches clawed at the roof.  Rain randomly drummed the windows in an odd and uneven rhythm.  Lightning lit up the room and then just as quickly darted away as though trying to stay ahead of the thunder that growled deep and low in the distance like a hungry lion looking for something to devour.

    But even before the wind and sirens had issued their warnings, I was awakened by another alarm, not whirring and shrill but silent and still.  Not off in the distance, but deep within me — an alarm so ancient and primal that it resides in the marrow of my bones, handed down from Eve.  It is an invisible hand that pulls a mother up out of her sleep like a puppet.  It is an invisible someone who whispers in her ear “getupgetupgetup”.   No matter your child sleeps in a room down the hall or on another continent, the shapeless, voiceless nudge of mother’s intuition warns that danger is afoot and urges, “Get up! Go! Don’t delay!”

    I snatched my wedding ring off the bathroom vanity and hastily screwed it on my finger over a resistant knuckle.  If all we own were to be carried away by the wind in the darkness that night, that was fine, but my wedding ring is the one material thing I would grieve.

    I made my way through the dark house to Sean’s room, dodging flashes of light as I went.  As I stood over him, the sirens began their plaintive wail.  Somehow, I had been expecting them.  I pulled my boy from his bed. He was heavy with sleep. I hoisted his warm little body up on my shoulder and turned on the flashlight.  “Mommy, what’s going on?” he asked, still asleep as I carried him into the small windowless bathroom.  I sat on the edge of the tub twisting my wedding ring, praying for mercy and rocking my boy. I was grateful that he was just down the hall and not a continent away. 

    When the sirens stopped, I carried him back to my bed, because that night, even the room down the hall seemed too far away.

    We lost a few small limbs and that was about it.  Not everyone escaped storm damage. Just a block away, it appears a tornado raged down the street, taking out trees and tossing them onto roof tops and cars.  One of our neighbors has to retrieve their trampoline from the roof of their house.

    68 Comments »

    1. Amy Nathan says:

      I’m glad you are all safe.

      April 10th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    2. Blog Antagonist says:

      I think that stuff is supposed to be heading this way. They are predicting high winds and hail for us this weekend. We just went through that last weekend. Pre-
      Pubescent One has a phobia about bad weather and has panic attacks during storms, so it should be a fun weekend. I’m glad you all escaped unscathed.

      April 10th, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    3. Sue says:

      Chills. I’m so glad you were both o.k.

      April 10th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    4. Kacey says:

      Praise God! I know the feeling of motherhood instinct, but my chicks are gone from the nest. When bad weather threatens, I make a mental list of where my family would be and then pray for them. We are on the other end of Tornado Alley and expect your storms tomorrow.

      April 10th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    5. Tom says:

      Thank God you were all okay. That must have been incredibly scary.

      April 10th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    6. Sheila at Dodging Raindrops says:

      Scary. I’m so glad nothing and noone was damaged at your house.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:01 am

    7. Quirky says:

      I heard about those storms and wondered if they were close to where you were. (To me, Texas is just one big place, so anything happening in Texas automatically happens to you). Good to hear that you’re all safe and sound. We don’t have tornado sirens here. I’m trying to imagine what they sound like. Scary, I’m guessing.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:09 am

    8. Krista says:

      I am glad you are alright. At first I thought something horrible had happened, but then I realized that you probably wouldn’t be writing a blog post if it had. Still way to scary for me. We don’t have tornadoes here, just wildfires…
      I suppose you (sort of) get used to whatever natural disasters you live with if you live there long enough.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:15 am

    9. Happy Geek says:

      Glad you are all right.
      I may miss the warm winter weather, but the storms, I don’t miss those.
      April snowstorms don’t have me holding babies in the bathroom in the night.
      I think I’ll take the snow:)

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:26 am

    10. Cheri says:

      Praise God you’re ok. We live in OKC so we’re used to the sirens, believe me. We spent some time in the tub just a few weeks ago. The Lord is with us through all the storms in our lives – high winds, heartaches and all.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:31 am

    11. SG says:

      I had no idea it hit up there? where have I been? We had rain and lots of litening down here but tht’s about it. So glad you are all OK!

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:31 am

    12. jen elslager says:

      Oh, wow! How terrifying! So glad you’re ok. And I know just what you mean about the wedding ring, too.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    13. Owlhaven says:

      So glad you’re safe!!

      Mary

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    14. Heidi says:

      That is scary! I’m thankful that you’re both okay. I’ve been hearing a lot about the storms. We’re getting our own version of them here in the form of a blizzard with lightning…

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:45 am

    15. Nicki says:

      At least you know that you’re mother’s intuition works! Sounds like a close call, so glad no one was hurt and that your house is intact!

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:06 am

    16. Jenny says:

      “an alarm so ancient and primal that it resides in the marrow of my bones, handed down from Eve.” This is one thing about motherhood that will never cease to amaze me.

      Very well written, AM. You are an incredible writer!

      I am so glad that you guys are okay. I’m sure it was a scary night.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    17. Photochick (Amanda) says:

      We’re getting those storms tonight… Though not nearly as bad here in my neck of the woods I don’t think! I’m SO GLAD you all are safe & sound. I used to love storms, but since I’ve gotten older & have seen how powerful – and frankly merciless- they can be, they scare me. I guess it all changes when you become a Mommy, huh? Anway, thanks for letting us know ya’ll are ok. Much love to you & yours, take care and God Bless

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:44 am

    18. Karen (Simply A Musing Blog) says:

      It was horrible, wasn’t it? We got it this morning and there were three huge tractor-trailors that literally flew down over the interstate and crashed down on the other side.

      Thankfully, our home was spared, but we have friends who have a lot of wind damage to outbuildings and such.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:49 am

    19. Judi says:

      Your writing is so descriptive that my heart was racing as I read it. I am thanking God as I sit here that you dear ones are safe.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:53 am

    20. mama speak says:

      So glad you are all ok; where was AD during all of this? I’m sure my hubby would’ve slept through it. I’ll take my earthquakes, thankyouverymuch.

      That pix you posted was pretty much what every other house in our neighborhood looked like after those storms in Jan. Remember we live in the burbs in CA, that means we don’t have much space for those trees to fall w/out hitting things. Remarkably, in most cases, just near misses.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:57 am

    21. Renna says:

      I am quite familiar with that instinct for action built into mothers. My ‘baby’ is now living far away (though she is at least back on this continent now), but I still am on occasion siezed by that almost paralytic fear. I thank God I can beseech Him and know that He’ll send His mighty angels to keep watch over her.

      PRAISE GOD, your family was unhurt!

      April 11th, 2008 at 2:38 am

    22. Jeana says:

      Wow. I’m glad you are all okay!

      April 11th, 2008 at 2:43 am

    23. Linds says:

      Trust your instinct! I am so glad you are safe.

      April 11th, 2008 at 4:31 am

    24. Brigitte says:

      I was tense enough reading your entry that I was relieved to quickly realize it was the TREE’S limbs that were lost. The idea of tornados terrifies me, glad you’re safe!

      April 11th, 2008 at 5:24 am

    25. Veronica Mitchell says:

      Glad you are okay. My mom and sister lost power for a day, and a few windows broke, but no one was hurt.

      April 11th, 2008 at 7:58 am

    26. canadacole says:

      So glad your mommy senses are on full and that you listen to them. Your description is so beautiful. {{Hug}}

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:02 am

    27. Johna says:

      We live in tornado alley, and I am well aware of the feeling you are describing. I dread this time of year. Saying a whisper of thanks to the Father for your safety.

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    28. Wendy says:

      You must live close to me as I heard (from someone else) that our sirens went off about that time too – except I slept straight thru it! Although last week when the boom hit & the hail rained down from the sky like rabbit unleashing the ping-pong balls (Capt. Kangaroo reference!) – I jumped straight out of bed! We had a few shingles blow this way & that but no other damage from the storm on Wed. night. And I’m not one for sitting in a room where I don’t know what’s going on! I have to see if there really is a tornado/funnel cloud before getting all worked up.

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:21 am

    29. CircusKelli says:

      Oh my goodness… this gave me chills… I’m so glad you’re all safe.

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    30. Confused Foreigner says:

      Whew! Glad you are ok!

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    31. Fraulein says:

      Glad everyone is OK — so is that tree in your yard, or is it one of your neighbors’ trees? It’s a shame to lose a big old tree like that, but obviously if that’s the worst that happened, that’s not so bad!

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:51 am

    32. Antique Mommy says:

      Y’all the storm was awful — trees were down,cars smashed, trampolines on rooftops, but the worst part was my internet was down almost ALL day yesterday. Oh how I suffered. I got all jittery. (That was sarcasm for y’all who don’t get me.)

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:56 am

    33. Jennifer says:

      Sad thing is, this won’t be the last time we hear the sirens this spring. It’s only the beginning, and May is usually the worst. Love the mild temperatures…..hate the hail and tornadoes.

      April 11th, 2008 at 9:36 am

    34. Kai says:

      I’m glad you guys are safe. Where was Antique Daddy during all this?? I hope you didn’t take the wedding ring, but leave him sleeping in bed while you and Sean hid in the bathroom!

      April 11th, 2008 at 9:43 am

    35. Chels says:

      Glad you are safe

      April 11th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    36. Chris says:

      I could have written this, right down to the wedding ring part. It was a terrifying way to wake up, but thank God We all made it through okay. Nice to read a fellow Texas blogger 🙂

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    37. gretchen from lifenut says:

      Wow. I am so glad you are safe. I can’t imagine going to bed at night wondering if you will have to spring into action because of volatile weather. The destruction can be unreal.

      Stay safe.

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:22 am

    38. Becca says:

      When the Florida Panhandle was having all its tornadoes several weeks ago, I drilled the ElfGirl on hiding in the closet. We repeated it until she could tell her Uncle James all about it when he got home from work. She’s three and a half.

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    39. Becca says:

      And… so glad you’re safe. My sister’s in White Oak, maybe I should check on her as well…

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    40. Linda says:

      I heard about the weather…thank you Jesus that you and your family are fine!

      Some storm there.

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    41. Emily says:

      We’ve had some close calls too. Our street is even nicknamed “tornado road.” What an experience shared by too few and too many all at the same time. Sooo glad you are OK.

      April 11th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    42. Shalee says:

      Okay, the internet being down is what finally got to me. Some things should never be.

      (Glad you were all safe and sound in the comfort of that bathroom.)

      April 11th, 2008 at 11:16 am

    43. Angela says:

      Beautifully written. I am glad you are all safe and no costly damage was committed on your property.

      April 11th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    44. Leah says:

      An alarm so ancient and primal.. handed down from Eve. That is powerful. So glad you are all alright.

      April 11th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    45. Diane J. says:

      I know whereof you speak. I live in Northeast Arkansas and we’re well versed in tornado sirens, damage and picking up the sometimes bizarre pieces. We were blessed here the last few days. We only got some high winds and some hail and torrential rains, but no real damage despite all the tornado and thunderstorm warnings. Flooding is our worst problem, though that’s bad enough.

      My baby is 20 and my grandbaby is almost a year old. They live 8 miles from me and still, when I’m woken by that still, small voice crying “Danger! Alert!” they are my first concern, even before I’m awake enough to decipher what the danger might be.

      Glad you’re all okay. My BIL lives in Fort Worth, plus more family, so TX weather is always a concern for us.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    46. Susan J. says:

      We had a night like that last week. That “mother hen” instinct can be very strong.

      Glad everyone is OK at the House of Antique.

      April 11th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    47. Lundie says:

      Got my heart in my throat reading that one. Glad to know you are ok.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    48. jean says:

      I’m glad you guys were ok. Where was Antique Daddy? Sitting next to you or glued to the weather station?

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    49. Sue Cramer says:

      I’m so glad you are ok!
      Excellent writing by the way.

      I am sitting here right now under a thunderstorm warning with a tornado watch…keeping my eye on every radar blip.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    50. zoom says:

      A big Amen on no one being hurt. Stuff can be replaced, people can’t.

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    51. 2nd Cup Linda says:

      We live in tornado alley. I have had to remove my sleeping kids from their beds, although I hated to do it because I thought I might foster a fear that they did not already seem to harbor. But their safety had to come first. I so know the relief you felt when the storm passed over!

      April 11th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    52. Sarah says:

      I’m just a random reader, but I wanted to say that I’m so glad that you and your son were ok. That sounds so scary.

      April 11th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    53. Nikolaj says:

      Praise God for His protection, awakening you.

      April 11th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    54. Audrey - Pinks & Blues says:

      Oh my goodness!!
      That is unreal. Mother nature is an unbelievable force.
      So glad you are all alright!
      Best,
      Audrey

      April 11th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    55. Jenn @ Casa de Castro says:

      Glad you fared well. Something LOUD woke us up – our weather alert radio! Having lived in the Dallas area since 1975, I’ve seen plenty of big Spring storms. But this one? Hands down the scariest. Studly Man (my DH) was calm as could be and wanted “to observe the awesome power of our God” as the winds blew in. Me? Cowering in the bath tub, holding one puppy and praying fervently for the Lord’s protection in between hollerin’ for that crazy boy to bring the other pup and join me in the “safe room.” He eventually made it in there, I think more to appease me than anything else. We did lose a big tree in the back yard, but the Lord orchestrated its fall, and it landed perfectly between the fence and another beautiful old oak tree. We were thankful for His protection over us, and I’m glad He protected you and Sean as well.

      April 11th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    56. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      There’s nothing like a summer storm to remind us God is God and we are not.

      Beautiful description of the storm, AM — and of a mother’s intuition.

      April 11th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    57. Everyday Mommy says:

      So blessed to hear you’re all safe. We’re preparing for that time of year, too. I put a change of clothes and shoes for each of us in our basement, in case we have to dash in the middle of the night. There’s also a case of bottled water down there and a radio with fresh batteries. Ya’ gotta’ love living in Kansas.

      April 11th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    58. MommyWizdom says:

      I love how you describe things, even in the thick of disaster. Glad you’re safe! I believe that maternal instinct is guided by our guardian angels. Otherwise, it’s too much coincidence.

      April 11th, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    59. Fiddledeedee (It Coulda Been Worse) says:

      Oh, Texas storms. Worse, I think, than our hurricane warnings. I’m glad y’all are okay. And that was beautifully written. Had me scared spitless.

      April 11th, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    60. Jill says:

      oh my goodness, that is awful. We have a watch tonight, but I don’t think anything is materializing. I guess it tis the season.

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    61. Maureen says:

      Wow. An F5 came through here last year. Pretty unusual for our area… glad to hear you are okay.

      Love your writing!

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    62. faithful chick says:

      That intuition is stronger than a tornado, isn’t it?

      April 11th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    63. Tracy says:

      What a night you had! Very glad you and your little man are safe.

      April 11th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    64. Pam says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. I agree with Kelly about the reminders of how big God is and little we are.

      April 12th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    65. Aunt LoLo says:

      Thank goodness you are all safe!

      April 12th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    66. Erin says:

      Yay for the mommy intuition! And it’s interesting which material things become important in “the end” or the face of the end. That’s a good thing, I think, that you didn’t want much, just that symbol that binds you metaphorically to someone you love.

      April 12th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    67. Scarlet O'Kara says:

      Glad to hear that you all are safe.

      Whenever we have nasty weather I always make my children sleep in my room. Just call me an over-protective mommy.

      April 12th, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    68. noodle says:

      I’m glad you’re all safe. Tornadoes scare me like nothing else, and we had one come within four blocks of our house just last month. This spring seems particularly violent.

      April 14th, 2008 at 12:31 am

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