If you look up my city on the weather page, you will see four different alerts at this time. We have a severe weather warning, a heat advisory, a severe weather watch and a heat warning.
Yeah, not such a great day. My phone was exploding with alerts all afternoon.
As the sky turned black, I decided that I just couldn’t let Selam get on the school bus. I don’t know why. I mean, it’s not like I’m the best driver in the world, and the bus drivers are professionals, and they are accompanied by chaperones. But it was storming. A tree could come down. The roads could flood. And obviously, when there are flash floods, what you really need is a Presbyterian minister.
I guess there’s a little bit of mommy swagger there, huh. I remember a mother telling me that there was no way she’d let her daughter swim in the deep end without her watching. I was thinking, “huh. I’m a life guard, but I’m not qualified?” I suppose this is my payback. I don’t want anyone else responsible for her during bad weather. I know this is not logical. But it is what it is.
So I began driving out to the JCC, calling them on the way (on speaker phone–I’m not an idiot) and they said they’d be happy to pull her from the bus line.
I remember once having an overnight at day camp when a bad storm blew in. We abandoned our little tents during the night and ran through the cemetery to where we got in cars and went to various leaders’ houses. The leader where my sister and I ended up deposited all of us girls in her living room and she called all the parents who arrived wild-eyed at the split-level to retrieve each girl. Some of them had driven out to the campsite first and found it empty. I can’t imagine how hard it was to parent without a cell phone.
We thought it was a great lark until the parents arrived. We didn’t realize we were in any danger until we saw the adults all scared. The next day, when we went back to camp, our tents were flattened and our sleeping bags drenched. A tree had fallen over a few yards from one of the tents. Sometimes I think about that and think about how freaked out I would be driving to someone’s house to pick up Selam in a storm. But then I realize that this would never happen to me. For better or for worse, Girl Scout leaders don’t throw kids in the back of their station wagon and take them home anymore. Everyone has a safety plan, a meeting place, carefully distributed information. And, of course, with smart phones, many of us can be emailed quickly. With cell phones, there aren’t girl Scout leaders taking the family station wagon to the gas station to make a phone call.
I parent by the seat of my pants, most of the time, but I expect the people who take care of Selam to have a clear plan and then a back up plan to that plan.
When I got to the JCC, all the kids were all evacuated to the main building. (They are ordinarily up the hill at a camp type setting.) Counselors were leading the children to busses. The car kids were waiting in the room by the door. As I arrived, I gave my name and my driver’s license to the counselor in charge. “Selam,” the counselor asked, “who is this?” She held Selam’s hand and looked at me. “Mommy,” she responded. “What’s mommy’s name?” “Susan.” She nodded to me, had me sign the paper, and released Selam.
I felt very comfortable with the whole set up. Maybe I’ll let her ride the bus in the next storm.
Or maybe not. I might be needed to lift a fallen tree from the road, you know.