Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tsunami Insomnia

At the near end of a very long week of not only sick kids but a sick mom too, on my side of the world it was Thursday night and I had just read a bedtime story to the aforementioned kids when a notification arrives on my phone about a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Japan.

Yes, I'm fully aware of the definition of run-on sentence. I like them sometimes.

Back to my post. I had received several text notifications of earthquakes in the same region over the past two days and since none of them had hit the news, I assumed it had been either out in the ocean enough or deep enough that it didn't cause any unusual disruption.

I go to my office and start checking my Facebook and working on my Zazzle store. A fellow Zazzler posts something about the quake. I google it to see if something is really up since the quake I was notified of was around the same magnitude of one they had a few hours earlier.

Come to find out, it wasn't a 7.1 quake, but instead an 8.9 quake. That's a big difference! A very big difference! And then I start to get notifications of aftershocks coming in. One right after another almost. This causes me to check the USGS (United States Geological Society) website where I see that there really have been a number of quakes in the past couple of hours! And these aren't little 4.0 quakes either, these are 6.8 or 7.5 or 6.4 and they are rocking the shores of Japan like crazy!

I decide to turn my television on. This isn't something I do often, so I start to search for the remote. I find it in the basket where it belongs but sans batteries. I find some batteries and begin to watch the news.

Not only are the quakes causing incredible havoc in Japan, but then a tsunami comes crashing into the shores and creates even more disaster that I have a hard time watching. After seeing this, they report that there is now a tsunami warning for the entire coast of the north American continent all the way from Alaska to northern Mexico.

Then they proceed to show us footage of what they expect our coasts to see. I totally freak out. Why? Because my two oldest children are less than a mile from the ocean and over six hours from Seattle in a little coastal town in Oregon. I, of course, am in Seattle.

Neither of them answer text messages I send them. Neither of them respond to Facebook messages I send to them. Both of them are asleep.

Finally, it is 4:30 in the morning and still no word from them although I have heard from some others on Facebook that parts of the coastal towns in Oregon are being evacuated. I go take a bath. Baths always solve harrying things for me. No idea how; just the submersion of myself in a tub of near scalding water always makes me feel better.

Just as I duck my head under the water to moisten my eyes which are overly dry from being open hours beyond their capability and my cell phone rings. I jump out of my skin, splashing water all over the floor, grab at my towel and reach for my phone which had been sitting on a little step stool by the tub.

Oh thank goodness, it is my daughter! She tells me that she was woken up by the sound of some sirens and I tell her to wake everyone else in the house up and head out to the farm. The farm is on the other side of the mountain range. I start to hear other people waking up in the house as I'm talking to her on the phone and I get off so they can go. I ask that she call me when they get there.

It is now six o'clock in the morning and I can finally sleep. I lie down and make sure my alarm is set for eight. An hour later than I usually get up, but I'm going to need the extra hour! I am so groggy when that alarm sounds, I can barely get up, but I do. My ten year old is not late for school and he's even had a small breakfast, but I did it.

Sometimes, I wonder exactly what I was thinking when I signed up to be a mother. Then, one of my kids does something I am so proud of. Or one of them will give me a little gift straight from the heart. Like beads on a string. I might get a text message from one of my older three and just smile because I know they were thinking of me. One of the things they forget to tell you when you decide to have a child is that there will be sleepless nights way beyond infancy. That worrying is something that will always be a part of you from the moment you know they exist. It is inevitable that you will worry. For years. Especially when they are an infant and they can get hurt in no many ways. But again especially when they are a teenager. You will worry when they have their first love, then their first heartbreak. When they get behind the wheel of a car for the first time and when they grow up and are ready to go on to college or get their own place.

I've got extra lines and a growing number of white hairs to prove I have worried a lot. I've been up all night long many times. And this won't be my last.

My heart goes out to the many who have lost their lives and to the loved ones who are left behind.

I'm so very grateful that what was expected to hit the coasts of the America's did not meet expectations.

If you would like to help out with the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, please check out the Zazzle page created just for that purpose.
You will find it here:

Until next time,

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