I think it was late Wednesday afternoon when I finally thought about preparing for Hurricane Matthew. The track kept shifting west throughout the day, inching closer to Orlando where I live.
So Missy and I disassembled the trampoline in the backyard (the one the kids use about 5 minutes a month) and brought everything on the porch inside. We popped way too many bags of popcorn for the boys. We filled up the bathtubs with water. We charged all of our gadgets. I went out and bought overpriced batteries and filled up both cars with gas, because that’s what you do, I guess.
Kyle, my seven-year-old, kept asking when the electricity was going to go out. “Any time now,” I’d say and seriously considered if I should sneak into the garage and flip the breaker off for a while.
Kyle and four-year-old Noah slept in the large downstairs closet. Missy and I slept on an air mattress just outside their door. They stayed up late, anxious for the hurricane to get here already.
We waited some more.
I read about the destruction in Haiti and said a prayer. We turned the TV on and watched our local weatherman Tom Terry take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves, an inside joke for those of us who live in central Florida that means things are getting serious. We kept watching, hoping Tom wouldn’t loosen his tie (or remove it completely, that would be a DEFCON 3 situation right there).
We kept waiting.
We never lost power. Never got hit. Hurricane Matthew moved east, missing us for the most part. But Matthew did have an impact on my friends and family. Just not the kind you might expect…
I spoke with family members that I hadn’t connected with in months.
My mom stayed a few days with her best friend who she hasn’t seen in a very long time.
Noah asked me to pray for ‘the tornado’ to not hurt us and for God to protect our house. Kyle prayed for the deer who live in the woods just behind our backyard so they wouldn’t blow away.
And we had the best time ‘hunkering down’ at home. We played games. I wrestled with my boys. Kyle and I watched countless America’s Funniest Videos and laughed so hard he almost peed.
Before bed, I scrolled through my Facebook feed one last time. In between the Florida hurricane memes, I read many heartfelt posts from friends and family all over the state giving us updates on their safety with countless comments from their loved ones showing their support and concern.
Something about preparing for the worst helped us bring out the best in each other.
With the destruction in Haiti and the east coast, I know things could have been a lot worse here. But I can’t say the hurricane didn’t impact us.