Storm Report

The word hurricane strikes a chord of fear in most people's hearts. And reasonably so. As my boss said, we not only live in a post-9/11 world, we also live in a post-Katrina world. No longer can we stare down the throat of a storm of any magnitude with the nonchalance and bravado of a circus lion-tamer.

Being born and raised here in Houston, I must say that hurricanes are simply part and parcel of life on the Gulf Coast. Although I am too young to have seen the destruction of Carla, I do remember well Hurricane Alicia and Tropical Storm Allison as well as a slew of other storms whose names I can't remember. I remember being afraid but we were always prepared, ready to "hunker down" and bear the brunt of whatever devastation and destruction the storm might bring.

With Ike barreling down on the Texas shore, those fears of destruction and devastation begin rising up in our minds like the storm surge, crashing against our sensibilities way before we even face the actual storm.

Hurricane Ike rides in on the tail of several other storms that have wrought their own destruction in one way or another in our life as well as the lives of others in my life.

For me the word teenager strikes more fear in my heart than any old hurricane ever could. A hurricane's path is somewhat predictable and blows over pretty quickly. In comparison to a teenager it is a breeze, pun very much intended.

My youngest son is 15. That alone would make the most seasoned parent shudder. Add to that he has some factors that augment what is already - in my opinion - a category 5 situation. Some would label these factors as disabilities, I would rather see them as challenges or opportunities to rise above the waves that would drag you down and toss you about like a a flimsy piece of driftwood.

As I've said before, I foolishly thought we would somehow escape the onslaught of hormones and teenage angst because I had a very close relationship with my son. My hopes were soon dashed upon the rocks and lay strewn like so much garbage waiting for the vultures to pick it apart. Oh. Woe. Is. I.

I've waited and waited for the return of the son I once recognized as my own. I have sent out my pleas to the alien beings who, I believe, abducted him about a year ago and replaced him with the venom spitting, surly tempered, Tasmanian devil that closely resembles the churning swirl of color looming ever near us in the Gulf.

This school year my son has decided he will no longer go to school. He just wants to stay home and sleep all day. Well don't we all silly boy, but sadly this is not an option the real world offers. Well, not unless you are Warren Buffet. And he didn't get there without an education and lots of hard work.

On Tuesday we got a call from the school that he was receiving in school suspension for one day because he refused to wake up and do his class work. On Tuesday evening we came home from work to discuss the matter with him. During this discussion is when we were informed we had not a clue what he meant about anything and that he simply was not going to school and if he could not stay in the house he would leave and become a (eh, hem) vagabond.

We truly thought when he walked out the door, that he would be back within an hour after having walked the block and come to his senses. We spent the next 4 hours and 45 minutes in agony. It was every parents worst nightmare and every teenagers attempt at independence.

I cannot tell you the amount of tears I shed nor the number of times that I begged God he be returned to me safe. I cannot describe the places my mind went to for they were dark, vile and void of hope, places that a parent's imagination should never have to roam.

I remembered every news story of every child who went missing. I remembered every parents interview. I remembered thinking I hope that is never me. I remember thinking oh God, don't let it be.

When it became obvious he was not coming home soon, and we had searched the entire area. I texted friends that I couldn't talk, but to pray because he was missing. Our neighbors set out and searched surrounding areas as well. My friends texted every few minutes "praying" and "love you" and "is he home?". One even showed up at my door because she just couldn't take it anymore. What would I have done without them? These loved ones surrounded us, anchored us and shored us up against the storm. They were our life lines when we would have otherwise drowned.

When he walked in the door I began to wail as if I'd been told the worst. He began to weep as we hugged and I repeated over and over "thank you God!". For as many times as I had pleaded for his return, I thanked Him. For every tear that was shed, I matched it with thanks and praise.

We talked that night and for now the storm has abated somewhat. But I know from my own teen years that were fraught with drama that the storms return quite quickly, that perhaps this is merely the eye and we've yet to get through the other side.

Some might think we simply ignored all the news flashes and flag warnings posted. That we must have turned a blind eye to the obvious signs and symptoms of an impending storm. This however, is not the case. We have all we could. The advent of teenagedom was, after all, inescapable.

Ours is not the only storm that has blown it's course.

One of my closest friends who I've known for over 30 years, recently faced the very real threat of cancer. Cancer comes more in the form of a tornado than a hurricane. Coming at you out of nowhere and striking with ferocity and vengeance. Taking with it anything that may be solid or firm in its path - everything you've built - wrenching it away. Behind it no trace is left of anything you knew. Mere shambles and rubble left where you once felt secure.

Another close friend is dealing with the ugly truth of cancer being fleshed out in her mother. Having faced this very storm once before, they are very aware of everything they have ahead of them. I am not sure if that makes it easier or worse.

Yet another close friend who has struggled with her health for some time now was recently told that her heart is not operating at full capacity and has perhaps suffered a heart attack.

While Ike is doing its worst to tear our world apart and the other events are attempting to take their toll on us as well, we have hunkered down (a very popular phrase right now), sheltered in place, boarded up the weak areas, gathered our supplies and prepared for the worst.

But instead of the worst, I continue to hear awesome reports of faith and friendship coming out of these trials. Reports reminding us we are going to be okay, no matter what.


  1. Thanks for sharing this very honest account. I can only imagine ...

    I hope you stay safe through all lifes storms. Especially Ike. You shoud know that my folks, who are on a cruise in the Baltic, have phoned every day out of concern for you all over there.

    Be safe

  2. Oh Dana, it truly IS so hard. But what a blessing company is. I don't write about my teens' angst because, well, they read my blog, but the emotional upheaval wears. me. out.

    ((((HUGS)))) and prayers. and fwiw, vagabond doesn't sound like such a bad idea a lot of times...

  3. Ali,
    Thank your friends, hope they made it home safely! And thank you for your kind words...:)

    You and one other blogging friend came to mind when I wrote this. The other has a daughter who no longer communicates with her and you have had your share of teenagers. My teens sometimes read my blog, but hey, perhaps it will give them a side of the story they didn't consider. I am hanging in there...the upheavals are tiring. Hormones, whether mine or theirs, are so very tiring! :)Thanks for the hugs I need them!


and remember, words are my love language...