I stood between the bedroom doors while the ground moved beneath me with the sound of a passing train. In one room, Elizabeth slept snuggled under the purple sheets of my bed. In the other, Joseph was sprawled under his down comforter, his body relaxed in sleep.
Living in California, earthquakes happen. Not with the frequency my mid-west or east coast friends might think. I’ve only been in one major quake in the nearly twenty years I’ve called this place home. But the little guys? They happen.
Sometimes they’re over so quickly I have to check Facebook to see if it was my imagination. Sometimes I sleep through them and don’t find out until the next day when the question is passed from person to person, “Did you feel it?”
Sometimes they’re strong enough that I sit still and wonder, “Should I do something?” and then they end before I can actually put the thought into action. And sometimes they’re strong enough and long enough that I find myself crossing the floor as it shifts and moves under my feet like a ship at sea.
Those are the times that worry me. Not because I’m afraid of earthquakes. I have a healthy respect for them. I’ve seen the damage they can do, but it seems silly to be afraid of something you can’t see coming and happens with irregularity. Personally, I don’t understand how people can live in places that have Hurricane Seasons, Tornado Season, Blizzard Seasons – things that happen every single year. Those forces of nature seem scarier than the random and unexpected quake.
There’s a reason things like a cancer diagnosis, a divorce, death of a friend are categorized as earthquakes: sudden, quick, unexpected, devastating.
I stood there, between the two doors. One child sleeping in each room and realized a 2:1 ratio wasn’t ideal in this situation.
The next morning, I told the kids about the earthquake and how I’d stood in the door and realized I couldn’t be in two places at once.
“What did you decide to do, Mama?” Joseph asked, looking at his sister in pity, believing, I’m sure, that I’d decided to save him.
“I decided to run under the table and save myself!”
“Mama! We’re your children,” he gasped in horror.
“Oh yeah. I forgot. In that case I decided we should have an earthquake drill and figure out a way that we can all make it to safety.”
I should probably add a few bucks to the therapy jar while I’m at it.
What? You don’t have a therapy jar set up for your children’s future therapy sessions? Weird.