So many friends and family have reached out to us today that I want to do a blanket update for everyone to keep them in the loop! If I haven’t replied to you yet, I’m sorry, and I will as soon as possible! Today was the luckiest of days to have off work, and so needed. For those of you who haven’t checked the weather, we have Hurricane Florence headed straight at us. A lot of our friends are easily evacuating this week, but it’s a little more complicated for us. Steve is deployed, so that leaves everything up to me to make sure we’re taken care of. And while normally, I don’t mind this at all, there are times that being a first responder takes priority over family. And unfortunately, this week, it’s during a state of emergency. I am left making arrangements for the kids and dogs while preparing to work in and through the storm.
Right now it’s a Category 4 hurricane, with the possibility of decreasing to a 3 or increasing to a 5. It’s aimed directly at us, and we live just a few miles from the beach. YIKES. Sunday after church we loaded up on bottled water and food, filled gas tanks, and I started making travel plans to possibly get the kiddos evacuated. As time went on into late Sunday, it was becoming more apparent that this is going to be pretty serious.
So, instead of getting ready for Steve’s rapidly approaching homecoming, I spent the day getting ready for our new friend, Florence. Today, I took the kiddos to school and left them there all day. I just hate doing that on my day off, because I love getting to spend three full days with them a week (my work days are sooo long), but this week, it just needed to be done. Some of you may know that my parents have a condo on North Topsail (an island about 45 minutes south of Camp Lejeune). Their deck in literally in the sand, so this is a major concern!!! This morning I was able to get it boarded up and their car they keep here moved up toward us and off the island. The island is now under a mandatory evacuation, and when I asked the guys boarding up the condo if they would be picking up their lumber, they said, “if there is anything left, we will.” Our sweet little hideaway on the beach may be no more. Only time will tell.
Thankfully, we have two amazing families, who are teaming up to make sure the kiddos are taken care of this week. My dad will be here tomorrow morning, and leaving with the kiddos in his 4-wheel-drive truck, headed to Charlotte to stay with Steve’s aunt and uncle. From there, we’ll play it by ear as to whether they’ll be able to get back without a problem, take the kids back to Kansas for a few weeks, or play grandparent tag and have New Hampshire grandma fly in to take over. A lot is up in the air, and really depends on the damage the storm does. The last tropical storm (not even a hurricane) left flooding so bad that the roads were impassable for a week and much of the state was left with no gas. It could range anywhere from no big deal, to completely destroying this military base and town we have fallen in love with these last eight years.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’m a little discouraged in the fact that we are on the brink of the end of deployment, and I was SO excited to spend this week getting ready for Steve to come home! I just love the excitement of spending the last week making sure the laundry is put away, the house and cars are spic-and-span, making signs, and filling the house full of special little surprises to make sure he knows just how much we missed him. Everyone keeps saying – he doesn’t care about that! Or, he’ll only notice you! But I tell ya, when you spend half a year waiting for your family to be whole again, and you’re preoccupied sending your kids away, preparing to work in catastrophic conditions, receiving (completely understandable!) messages from your photographer saying she is evacuating and may not be available, and crossing your fingers that your husband’s flight won’t be pushed back, your house survives, and the kids will make it back in the flooding to welcome him home. Kind of a letdown. But good golly, God has got these next few weeks in His merciful and capable hands and I know there is a rainbow waiting on the other side of the storm.
So, please add us to your prayers this week.
For my safety working through the storm.
For safe travels for my dad, Mitchell, Julia, and Aubrey.
For Steve’s safety in the final days of his deployment and safe travels back to US soil.
For our home, my parent’s home, and vehicles. Praise God for renters’ insurance and extra external hard drives filled with our family memories to send safely away just for these situations.
We’re as ready as we can get! A little part of me is excited about all of this. But most of me is anxious. I know it’s a lot to ask three young kids to let both mommy and daddy put themselves in harms way day after day, and expect them not to worry. Mitchell told me tonight that when you get scared, you should pray. And that he was scared for me, so he was going to pray and feel better. These kids are smart, I tell you. I’ve been so good the last few weeks about making them go to sleep early in their own beds, in preparation for Daddy! But, tonight, I’ve got one cuddled up on each side of me and we stayed up late putting together a new toy and watching Cars. Because, priorities. So, there it is! Fear not for the kids! They’re in the safe and capable hands of Kansas Grandpa. But feel free to fear a little for Grandpa, because he is in the crazy and chaotic hands of three kids five and under!