Originally uploaded by awamiba.

This morning my mom called me, in a panic, because there was a storm headed our way. We get these calls from time to time, but usually it’s just a little bit of a storm, no worries. I had a weird feeling about this one, though, so I made the kids put on shoes (I did, too) and put together some stuff on the counter just in case, then went about the rest of our morning.

It got darker and darker outside. The wind came up and the thunder started roaring. And then it got very very quiet. I heard this whine from outside that I realized was actually the tornado siren. I picked up kids and pillows, all I could carry, and tossed them into the hallway. Ran and grabbed out drinks, crackers, flashlight, phone charger & radio (which does have batteries in it, just in case, but I plugged it in, as we had power at that point).

The kids thought this was hysterical, of course. Ben wanted me to go back out of our little shelter to put on my “cute little red shoes” and Greg wanted his bottle instead of the cup. They couldn’t understand that this was scary, not fun. I tried to tell them that when I was little that we always went to the basement, but that in our house there isn’t one, so they have to go here, to this hallway made safe by shut doors, when they hear that oh-so-distant whine of the siren.

Nick tried to call me, but phone calls weren’t making it through. He texted me about the siren, but by then it had stopped running. The news on the radio said very little about what was happening, only advising people not to leave their homes and to seek shelter immediately. The kids got quiet at this point and just crawled into my lap to snuggle in. We stayed in that position for quite a while before Nick called again. He still couldn’t hear me talking, though I could hear him. Eventually he got through for real and told me that he had heard that we could go out to the rest of the house again, but to stay inside just in case.

I plugged the TV and computer systems back in. The internet was useless at that point, but one of the TV stations said that the bad part had passed by us already, by mere minutes. We watched the news, huddled together on the couch, as the sky got lighter and the branches grew more still. We watched on radar as the hail passed through other towns and were fascinated by the new computer radar system that could show us how the clouds that held the hail were formed in the sky and touched the ground.

Eventually we grew brave and left the house to explore the garden. Ben wanted to make sure his plants were all okay, looking at all their leaves. Gregory checked out the gym and the trampoline, inspecting bits too small for the rest of us to notice. I just stared up into the trees, searching out the weakest branches, making sure nothing looked like it would fall on my house again.