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The Things They Save

The sky grows dark and the sirens sound. My first move is to call out for My Sun and LM to gather the pets and herd them into my closet, our designated storm shelter. I do this as I text My Moon, who lives nearby, and ask if she is somewhere safe.

“What about Limoncello?” hollers LM, the most anxious of my three.

“I’ll grab the five-gallon tank and he can join us.”

Limoncello is LM’s most recent pet, a leopard gecko. And, more importantly, he is a full-fledged member of the family, who will be joining us in the closet. He, and our large dog, and three cats. The quarters are tight, but we are all family, four legs or two.

My children have spent most of their lives living in places where the unmistakable sound of tornado sirens has been known to occasionally grace the skies. Things have become a bit more intense since our move to the south. Intense and definitely more frequent.

With each new home, one of our very first matters at hand is to scope out the structure and decide the safest place to shelter during a severe storm. And let me just say, oh boy, do I miss basements! In our current abode, the only space that meets the minimal requirements (inner room, lowest level, etc) and has sufficient space, is my closet.

Moving around frequently has honed the kids’ ability to gather those items most important to them for transportation. Living in torado-prone areas has improved their gathering speed. When they were younger, I ran about collecting items for them to bring into the shelter. Now, they are at an age where the task is entirely theirs.

After a somewhat intense night of sirens and warnings, loud crashes of thunder and driving rains, the kids trudged off to bed.

“I’m leaving some things in the closet just in case, Mom.”

Ah yes, I would expect nothing less from my prudent, efficient Sun.

This morning, I went in to tidy up the closet. With all three cats vying for position to best “observe” and properly introduce themselves to Limoncello (nice to eat … er … meet you), and the dog desperately searching for a spot away from the melee, things got ruffled, my items rearanged.

When I entered the space, I had to pause to allow a moment for a wave of emotion to subside. There, on the floor, lay Special Blankie. In the confusion of the night before, I had seen My Sun with the school computer and a tablet, filled with both homework, personal art and writings. Those had since made their way off to school and back upstairs to the desk. Special Blankie remained in the closet, just in case.

We are fast approaching the moment when My Sun chooses which school to attend. Each passing day brings the actual time of departure, the leap from the nest, closer. So, I find myself reflecting, trying to recall every detail of the moments that have quickly slipped away.

In my last blog post, I wrote about the cakes lovingly made for each of the three on their special days (or at least within a few months, or more, of their special days: see rule #2Love and Cake).

Another thing I did for each was to knit a blanket with which to welcome them at their birth. I am by no stretch of the mind a “knitter,” but set to the task of teaching myself and then reteaching myself at each pregnancy. I mean, you can’t just do it for the first kid, right? Even if it proves to be a much easier endeavor without a toddler running about and other parental responsibilities.

They aren’t masterpieces of any sort, simply the labors of love of a novice knitter and a novice mother of one, then two, then three. So, pardon me a moment while I wipe away a tear or two at the realization that this was the cherished item that My Sun wanted to keep safe from danger: not an electronic game, an expensive accessory, or even the new prom dress, but Special Blankie.

And, on a somewhat lighter note, I would like to thank Run Amok Books for publishing a short piece I wrote (titled A Moment in My Head) after eavesdropping on the writer residing in my head. It can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.blog.runamokbooks.website

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