Around 6:00 on Sunday night the call came that school was cancelled on Monday. So we slept in (“we” is mostly Grace, who now sleeps later than the rest of us by a wide margin), enjoyed some lazy coffee, and then looked around at each other. A whole day. Gulp. I decided to take Grace and Whit out for a walk because it wasn’t really raining that hard yet and, as we know, I am a stubborn devotee of the power of Fresh Air. Off we went, in our matching raincoats, down the street. We walked randomly around and admired the leaves, noting that they would probably all come down.
And where did we end up? Our favorite local book store. We browsed and browsed and I bought Lee Woodruff’s Those We Love Most and emailed myself a few Christmas present ideas for Grace and Whit. Then we got hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts and headed home.
Whit and I finished Harry Potter 2 a couple of weeks ago, and is our tradition, that meant he could watch the movie. It was a perfect day for it. Matt put the movie on as I put in a load of laundry, and when I came upstairs this is what I found. I realize I am preempting the Halloween reveal post I had planned, but this just slayed me with adorableness so it is worth it. Whit had put on his costume, including the glasses, and was clutching his Nimbus 2000. When I asked why he was wearing his Quidditch robes he looked at me placidly and shrugged. Duh, Mum. Have I mentioned that I adore Harry Potter?
After a late lunch the wind started howling for real. I felt agitation rising in my chest. I was short and snippy with the kids and Matt, anxious. It was just a matter of time before the power went out. I hate the power being out. I was sitting in bed with my book when … boom. Lights out. Darkness fell, and silence too. The alarm beeped a few times, and then the children called out, simultaneously, their voices striated with panic, “Mummy! Mummy!?” They came running into my room. For the next four hours the three of us were not more than three feet apart from each other. When they are nervous or uncertain, they are drawn to me like magnets, and this fact annoys and pleases me in equal measure. For a while they stood at the window watching the street. A few big branches had come down on either side of us, and the rain lashed the windows.
I urged Grace and Whit to take advantage of the little daylight we had left. They huddled together in the bay window my bedroom, right by the chair where I sat (for scale, see the toile arm of the chair I was in in the picture above) and worked on Perler beads, Grace’s current obsession. The sight of their heads bent towards each other as they worked on task together managed to worm itself into my anxiety and crankiness and warmed my heart. As I read in the faint daylight by the window, I realized I wasn’t as anxious anymore. I’d been afraid the power would go out. And it had. Once more, with feeling: anticipation is worse than reality. Over and over again, I seem to need to learn this lesson. Just last year, Hurricane Irene tried to teach me. And yet I never quite get it.
Everybody was crawling the walls, so we decided to go out for dinner. We drove three blocks to a restaurant we love, passing houses with every window ablaze with light. It felt like we were one of about four houses without power. My bitterness rose. Still, I tried to shake it off and our dinner was random and hilarious, like most meals with Whit at the table. You can see how deserted the streets were as we walked back to our car. Grace and I actually turned around and walked the short distance home, holding hands all the way. It was warm enough that she was wearing flip-flops.
We came home to a dark house and brushed our teeth with headlamps on. Whit unrolled his sleeping bag on Grace’s floor because they wanted to be near each other. And Matt and I got into bed with our books and lamps. The wind howled and it was dark and I felt sorry for myself that we didn’t have power. But I also felt a powerfully how fortunate we were, and a deep sense of safety spread through me. After what I feared had happened, I was no longer anxious. With that on my mind, I went to sleep.
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