Hurricane Harvey was catastrophic. That’s the word everyone has been throwing around since the storm made landfall last Friday. Over a week ago. I was cautious, and I have a very strong willed father who told me to get out of town before I couldn’t anymore. We suspected the power would go out, and with a baby, that wasn’t a hardship we wanted to endure if we had other options. So we left our little apartment, packed a car full of stuff we thought we would need, got my bonus daughter and baby girl, and left everything else, including the cats. Now, the cats stayed by themselves in the apartment when we went on our honeymoon and our road trip, which both lasted over 10 days, with no problem. They had plenty of food and water and were absolutely fine, so I had no issue leaving them, even without power. I didn’t count on Harvey, though.
Remember that email that was apparently a hoax and discredited on all of the news sources about the amount of flooding Harvey was going to cause? Well, I listened to it. I urged everybody to get to higher ground and get safe. This is the first instance I can remember of not being satisfied about being right. I’m heartbroken that I wasn’t just some overreacting new mother following her paranoid father’s orders.
After six days in the country with slow internet and lots of rain, we decided we could venture out. Mother kept the baby and we took my bonus daughter with us to meet up with her biological mother so she could go home. We finally made it back through the water to our apartment and found just how bad it was. We flooded. A foot and a half of water left its mark on the walls and doors, filled up bins and boxes, ruined drawers and furniture, collapsed all three of our very full book cases, and left a smell that can only be described as nauseating. I cried. At first, we couldn’t find the cats. My precious Puck and Puma were nowhere to be found. Then, on one of our final passes through the apartment, Puma came out of his hiding spot in the windowsill. Puck was inside the recliner and we finally coaxed him out, wrapped him up, and put each in carriers we quickly cleaned out and padded with towels. We grabbed their supplies, gathered miscellaneous items we felt were necessary for the next few days, and got back on the road for the long, circuitous route back to Mother and Daddy’s.
We were lucky, really. I’m convinced God has a plan, and He knew we wouldn’t make a huge effort to get out of that apartment unless it was necessary, so He made it necessary. We have our health, our sweet baby, and both (slightly traumatized) cats.
You know what I’m really thankful for? Where our blessings have really shown? The outpouring of love and support from friends. I have never felt such kindness and caring and genuine concern from people as I do right now. I’ve had offers for clothes, babysitting, supplies, places to stay, and help to clean the mess and I am incredibly grateful for the many wonderful people in my life. My awesome sister-in-law and brother even invited us out to California if we need a break from rebuilding our lives after this mess. As I sit in the quiet and listen to my baby girl sleep peacefully, I count my many blessings and I consider what I’ve learned in the past week.
It reminds me of that Tracy Lawrence song: “You find out who your friends are, Somebody’s gonna drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas, get there fast, Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’ They just show on up with that big old heart. You find out who your friends are.”
I know who my friends are now, even more than before, and I am so incredibly loved. So take that, Hurricane Harvey. We are Texas Strong, we are united, and we will prevail. Better, stronger, and happier than we’ve ever been, I see the future looking up.