As our family does every year around this time, we think about Hurricane Katrina and its impact on our family. While sitting in the hospital the other night with Eric, we spent some time reminiscing about what has occurred since the storm.
First, our location has changed, and changed and changed. We moved three times since the storm; first to Sylvania, Georgia, then to Shoreview, Minnesota and now to Seattle, Washington. (Our next move will be to a beach somewhere once these boys are out of the house). Each move brought us both closer together and farther apart, depending on who you ask. Each move also provided unique growth opportunities (learning to ride horses in GA, learning to snowshoe in Minnesota and learning to row in Seattle). Each move has had its challenges too – roast beef is hard to get in Georgia, picking up dog poo after the world thaws is a multi day event in Minnesota, learning to survive in a house with no ac has been interesting these last few summers. (In New Orleans, you have an AC or you are dead).
Second, our family has changed, and changed and changed. When Hurricane Katrina hit, our family consisted of Mom, Dad, four kids and one dog. Since that time, we have picked up a step dad, two step sisters, five cats, and three dogs. Now, in Seattle, we consist of Mom, Step-Dad, two boys still at home, two dogs and three cats. (afar, we have four more kids in various stages of young adulthood, two co-parents and a half sister puppy). Now we just patiently, very patiently, await the next change on the horizon – kids getting pets, marriage and grandchildren.
Third, our outlook on life has changed. Hurricane Katrina taught us all how fleeting things are despite the appearance of permanence. Hurricane Katrina taught us that your stuff is simply that, your stuff. It just doesn’t matter. Hurricane Katrina taught us that its your peeps and your attitude that really matter. We moved to each new place curious to learn and open to new adventures and ideas. We all have made great friendships in each locale. I love hearing my 19 year old son talk about his bff from 6th grade and the reality that they are close even today. My kids have shown such amazing resilience and resourcefulness as they have navigated each new locale. Last night, watching my son’s 6th grade football coach visit him after learning of his accident, my heart was filled with gratitude for my peeps – my peeps in New Orleans, my peeps in Georgia (honestly, I don’t have any peeps in Georgia), my peeps in Minnesota and my peeps in Seattle. My heart also swelled with pride as I heard Eric describe his accident yet also describe how grateful he is to be alive. Hurricane Katrina taught my kids a very important life lesson – things can always be worse so embrace what you got and make the very best of it. I thank Mother Nature for the amazing lesson on attitude. Its real easy to feel down when your entire life is thrown up in the air but, instead, we adopted a puppy and learned to ride horses (even Ethan who was only three years old at the time).
This look back on our lives since Hurricane Katrina is dedicated to our beloved family dog, Lila, who died unexpectedly last fall – she was our Hurricane Katrina puppy. Because all good moms who are coping with the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in United States history get a puppy to distract their children from their reality of losing their home and their friends in the middle of the night one August night.