Not even going to use the cliche expression “unless you’ve been living under a rock…” But basically, what I want to open with is that regardless of what part of the country you’re in, or possibly even the world, as long as you have had access to a computer, smartphone, tv, etc. you’ve heard of Hurricane Harvey.
Harvey was called a flood of biblical proportions and it raged on Houston and other parts of Texas about a week ago for several days. Many people, some of whom I know well, lost their homes, their cars, and other belongings. Thank God, only a small number of people (none who I know personally) lost their lives, but still that is beyond devastating.
As a mom, my focus during the storm was just keeping my daughter Holland safe, dry and happy. I felt very very fortunate, that our neighborhood and specifically our street wasn’t hit badly. It has been redeveloped for flooding. Even though we haven’t seen a hurricane like this, there was Hurricane Ike 9 years ago, and a flood 2 years ago. So people took steps to remodel the neighborhood and ditches to prevent flooding. Also, many installed generators for loss of power. We lost power for about 10 hours but luckily the generator kicked in.
Holland did not even seem to notice that there was a hurricane. She was just excited that Mommy, LaLa, and Pop as well as others were here to play with her all day. As long as she’s happy, I’m happy. But of course, the whole time we were praying for our city, our friends, and just others to survive the hurricane with as little damage as possible.
I felt so grateful that we were okay, but that did not stop me from feeling the pain of others. I imagined what other moms had to go through- and I’ve heard the stories: hiding in their attics, bringing as much in there as they could and just trying to keep their babies calm and safe.
I tried to do what I could, as long as that didn’t mean leaving my daughter since I’m her primary caretaker. I posted donation sites on FB to raise money and awareness, as well as donated. I collected Holland’s clothes she doesn’t need/fit into anymore, her bassinet, swing, etc. and donated them to those that do. I understand that this may not be a lot or enough, but it was what I could do while still doing my number one job- being her mom.
I posted a message on Facebook encouraging people to stay positive and not focus on negativity such as bashing our President. The people who inspired this post and who had been posting such negativity had not been impacted by the flood- a lot of them were in other parts of the country. I was upset because instead of them doing what they could from afar such as posting about relief efforts, they were spending their time posting negativity about the president and criticizing his actions or bringing up things he said before Hurricane Harvey occurred. Someone replied “obviously you weren’t hit by the flood.” I replied “no, Baruch Hashem, ” That means “Thank God” in Hebrew. Unfortunately, this person had been hit and I felt really sad for him and his family.
I do not want people to harbor any resentment towards others who have not been impacted directly by the Hurricane. I know there is a saying “misery loves company” . However, this type of misery should not.
Just because someone did not have to encounter difficulties or hardships based on Hurricane Harvey, does not mean they have not in their lives. Being a single mother is hard, moving back in with your parents at 33 is very humbling! I’m so grateful to them for providing us with a safe environment that kept us safe during the Hurricane.
I try to thank God everyday for our blessings. I know what sadness and loss are like, maybe not in the sense of a hurricane, but in general. I noticed another friend on Facebook posting that it hurt him to see many people returning to life as normal, because the true victims of Hurricane Harvey are not able to and will not be able to for quite some time. This friend was very heroic during the Hurricane and rescued so many people. He is also a single man with no children. I definitely understand his sentiment but at the same time, as a single parent with a baby under 1, it is different.
I have to return to life as normal, my daughter needs me to. She relies on me everyday not only for her basic needs, but also to be happy, smiling, loving and engaging with her. That is our reality. I really believe for me, that my true charity starts at home, and from here, or with her, we will do everything that we can.
My is with y’all,
Erica and Holland.