I’ve lived in the Houston area for nearly 5 years, I’ve been here through a few floods but nothing like this. Nothing like Harvey. Nothing to this magnitude. Not only is Harvey a more significant storm than any other storm but my perspective has changed. I live here, I have a home here, and I am growing a baby through this storm.
During the storm I was in Austin and my husband was stuck in our home in Houston. He is safe, our home sustained minimal damage from a roof leak, and I didn’t have to witness any of it.
But here are the things I am feeling….
- For not being here and for still feeling impacted
- For not helping the people in our community more because I’m protecting my body and our baby
- For telling people we have a damaged home but we can still live in it safely
- For wanting my husband to be at home with me when he’s out helping our friends demolish their homes that have been destroyed
- Of rain and full creeks
- Of natural disasters
- Of bringing our baby girl home to a place that might not be perfect when she gets here
- We have insurance
- We are safe and healthy
- We have a full pantry
- I didn’t have to witness any of this first hand
- My husband was here to prevent further damage
- He is the type of man who is giving his time and energy to those in need when he could easily be sitting on the couch with me
- Because the rain is over and most of the gulf coast can start to rebuild
- To be home and sleeping in my own bed
- There is sunshine
Once the roads cleared and I was able to drive back to Houston, I loaded up the car and came home. I didn’t realize that this drive would be the most emotional drive from Austin to Houston yet. I cried, I prayed, and I listened to dance music so I could feel our baby girl move. On my drive home I saw convoys of HEB trucks, military vehicles, and ranchers with empty livestock trailers all driving to Houston to help us put this city back together.
Seeing all of these people driving into the disaster, it hit me that this is our little girl’s first tragedy. She will experience more when she’s here in the world; things like terror attacks, natural disasters, the death of loved ones, and breakups that hurt so bad they feel like a tragedy and there is nothing I can do to stop all of that from happening in her life. Sure, I can minimize her exposure to what is happening in the world around her but I can’t completely stop her from having these experiences. This time she was in my belly and I could protect her from what was happening but next time she’ll be here and all I can do is hold her when she cries and teach her how the family she comes from handles tragedy.
Our family cries and prays but then we pull up our boots and get to work. We get to work loving on the people around us. Our family moves forward rebuilding our lives and the lives of others. Somewhere through all of the tears, bowed heads, love and sweat we begin to heal from the tragedy. And that’s how our family regains our strength. My whole family is strong for different reasons but the line of women I come from is particularly strong and I expect that at this point it’s basically a genetic trait. I can only assume that our little nugget will be fiercely strong and it’s up to her dad and me to teach her the right way to harness that strength and power for good, especially in times of tragedy.