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but he hasn’t, and he still doesn’t believe me when I tell him that getting to the eye of even a “small” hurricane is not worth it!

Parent to Parent Since we live in flood zone A, and since I have no intention of ever messing with a category 4 or 5 hurricane, we decided to head up to visit our friends in Pensacola when Hurricane Irma came through last month. All four of my children were happy to be missing several days of school, but beyond that, their reactions covered a broad spectrum. David was sure that evacuating was a total waste of time, and more importantly perhaps a missed opportunity to see something as “majestic” as the eye of the hurricane. Now I’ve been in the eye of a category 1 hurricane,

Daniel and Hanna were both pretty practical. Daniel’s main concern was that wherever we went, the dogs had to be able to stay with us - he didn’t want them in a kennel. And Hanna put a few of her “treasures” up on high shelves in her room, but didn’t get overly stressed out. Then there was Haylee. To say she was terrified is certainly an understatement. At ten years old, she understands the danger of a hurricane, but she doesn’t quite understand the statistical unlikelihood of any specific, reasonably well-built house being destroyed. She was ready to pack up her entire bedroom and high-tail it out of town. Just like Woody, she had a “no toy gets left behind” philosophy. When we told her she could have space for one bag to bring some of her favorites, she found the biggest bag she could and jammed it full of stuffed animals and dolls. Then she stuffed a few more around herself in the seat of the car! Haylee has a spiral notebook that she uses like a scrapbook, and on Saturday, she asked me to draw a map of Florida for

her. She then proceeded to start filling in all kinds of details from the weather forecasts she was watching: where the storm was at that time, the current wind speeds, where our house is, where we were staying, etc. And she continued to update it every few hours until the storm was past the Tampa Bay Area. It was adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time. As an adult, it’s easy to brush off how stressful situations like that can be for kids. I’ve lived through a moderate number of disasters and potential disasters, including several hurricanes when we lived in Pensacola. So, I know from experience that while we may encounter a little bit (or even a lot) of discomfort, we will get through them. But she doesn’t have that perspective yet. Thankfully, even though we spent almost a week without electricity and our roof does have some damage, Haylee’s toys escaped the storm unscathed. That should hopefully help her not to be quite so nervous the next time around! Until next time,

Jennifer

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October 2017 • 7

Gulf Coast Family - October 2017  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...