Saturday, August 27, 2011

Worried Mother

The ultimate anticipatory anxiety - waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit New York City.
The ultimate letting go - I can't do a darned thing for my daughter except to send her annoying text messages about getting batteries, peanut butter, water, and flashlights. As if she couldn't figure that out for herself!
She is in an evacuation zone so after battling her way through the little hardware store down the street in the east village, she has headed to the upper east side to hunker down with a couple of friends from NYU.

I had a conversation with my mother. If there was ever a time for her to intervene, it is now. I do that. Whenever I have to perform, I talk to my brother, Bob. When I'm worried about Steve, I talk to my Dad. But this one is for Mom. Her practicality, sense, and preparedness all of my life is definitely what we need now. "You never know when you might be invaded," she would say - thus our cabinets were always full of canned goods and her gas tank was never lower than a quarter of a tank.
Driving home last night from school, I noticed that our tank was lower than half and I nearly pulled into the Mobile station until I remembered that I live in Long Beach, California, not Long Beach, New York and that the hurricane was hitting the east coast not here. (I do plan on sorting our our emergency supplies again, though. I'm almost scared to look at that food I put into those plastic containers a couple of years ago. It's time to rotate the stuff and reorganize. Now that I'm commuting, our trunk needs to be ready with more supplies than our home.)

Not only am I worried about Gillian. There are a lot of people I know in New York and on the east coast! Our friends Teri and Darcy with whom we just spent a few days snorkeling in Hawaii have just taken their daughter Emma to Washington DC for college. They managed to fly right into the middle of this. The week started with an earthquake! What a beginning to Emma's college experience! And then there is my cousin Erin who is in North Carolina. I have a lot of former students in the New York and New Jersey area.

What did we do before the weather channel, Facebook, CNN, and twitter? Here I am sitting in my den in California, experiencing this event moment to moment. The great thing about social media and cable TV is that when you want the information it is right there waiting for you.

News alert: The trains, busses, and subways in New York are going to shut down in an hour. I'm sitting in California, but my anxiety about this news and that the city will essentially come to a stand still until the wind and rain hit is a visceral experience for me. There is a strange sense of isolation that I feel thinking of my girl in the middle of this. I've never had to ride out a hurricane in my life.
I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not riding this one out either.
Gillian is.

Mom - I'm counting on you! Take care of our girl!