The Calm After the Storm

Guys. The hurricane.

I can’t explain the level of relief I feel in the moments after this monster has passed. But I will try.

As I wrote before, the simmering anxiety I felt in the days leading up to Irma, as we prepared as best we could, was an unfamiliar thing to me. I’m not typically an nervous person, nor do I dwell too much on worst case scenarios. So the whole drawn-out, exhausting process of hurricane prep kinda got to me.

With a hurricane, the What Ifs are so great and the long list of possibilities is, well, so long, that it is impossible to go through each potential scenario and figure out an answer as to what’s best in each case, especially because the storm’s track changed so frequently even in the final hours before landfall in Florida.

So we did what we thought was best as a family, and–rather than leave town, like we initially had planned–we evacuated instead in town, to our family’s place that typically keeps power during storms. We packed our clothes, my frozen breast milk, a couple extra diapers, and we hightailed it out of our house about a half hour away.

And we waited.

Before I describe our account of the storm, please know that I acknowledge fully that it was not “bad.” Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people went through actual terror, actual horror and loss with this hurricane, and our experience doesn’t hold a candle to their pain. I write that with both deep sadness for them and utter gratitude for our scenario.

But I’m not going to lie; it was scary. Orlando turned out to be in the northeast quadrant of the hurricane, which a bunch of smart and scientific people say is the worst place to be during a hurricane. I am here to say those smart people are right.

What was it like to ride it out? Think of the sound of a wailing freight train. Put that sound riiiiight outside your bedroom window. And then, think of the sound it would make if someone took a cat o’ nine tail and smacked it against that same window for six hours straight. Then add in the sound of pounding rain.

I thought our windows were going to break; there were times I contemplated dragging the kids into the closet for shelter. But we were reassured that the house was safe and the windows were sturdy.

So I did the next best thing I could think of–nothing. I lay in bed with an infant and our three-year-old, and I trembled. I shook awake with every lash of a branch against the window and I think the longest stretch I slept was about an hour and a half.

But we are all okay. And because God thought it would be good to sprinkle some irony on top of our terror, it turned out to be the one night that our kids slept through the night almost seamlessly.

I can now officially say my kids can sleep through a hurricane. (Only when they want to, of course.)

All told–to use a phrase–it could have been worse. And God, I’m glad it wasn’t.

So excuse my delay in posting today. Lots of cleanup to be done. But business as usual soon. And one very grateful mama here to do it.

Sonni Abatta runs this Orlando lifestyle and mom blog. She just got her power switched back on tonight. (She is grateful for the little things.) Reach out with questions, qualms and collabs to

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