Hurricane Harvey was such a massive invader that hit my community that I thought it warranted me writing another blog post about him, it, whatever you want to call Harvey.
But this isn’t about the actual weather event of a hurricane. This is just about what I’ve observed in the near six weeks since Harvey packed up his rainy, waterlogged bags and moved on.
I’ve never been up close and personal to a flood. I have read about floods and have seen the photos – mainly the horrific ones from a typhoon in Bangladesh or other remote areas of the world. My husband just said the other day how he couldn’t have ever imagined the long-term effects of a home being flooded. Until now.
My flooded parents are still living with me and Wayne in Caroline’s newly vacated room, since she’s in her freshman year of college. You would think a 77 and 78-year-old couple would be slowing down the pace of life just a tad. You might also think they would want dinner by 5 p.m., the 9 o’clock news instead of the later news, and an early bedtime. And certainly no caffeine past late afternoon.
I can’t keep up with these two. Their schedule and pace are wearing me out.
I’m trying to find a way to put a microchip under their skin so I can track them without them knowing it.
Here is one of a hundred examples of what I mean: I got a text from my mom the other night at 10:30 saying, “We are taking Tyler to Richmond so we will be to your house a little late…” I don’t know about you, but it’s hit or miss if I’m even awake by 10:30 at night.
Of course, I keep my phone handy since I have college kids, and can be woken up at any time of the night if one of them texts me (notice I said I would wake up, not my husband). I just didn’t think it would be my parents texting me any time of the night.
And by the way, who the heck is Tyler and why are you driving him anywhere???
I found out that Tyler was the guy from the car dealership who drove her new car in from Dallas last night (they lost both cars in the flood). He got to their house at 10 p.m. My dad offered to take Tyler to his friend’s house, where he had planned to stay before he went back to Dallas the next day. Tyler didn’t know where his friend lived, and soon found out it was in Richmond, Texas.
So, my parents hopped in their new car with their new BFF Tyler at 10:30 p.m. and drove him to Richmond, Texas to his friend’s house. God forbid they let Tyler use Uber, like he had planned.
But that is so typical of my parents. If my mom had a functioning kitchen, she would have sent him home with a basket of warm muffins.
At 12:15 a.m. that same night (or next morning to be exact), I got out of bed and went down the hall and looked in their room only to find two empty twin beds a la Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. I thought to myself, “Good gosh, where are those crazy kids!” I called my mom and through her giggles I heard her say they would be home soon. Soon was 1 a.m. How do I know that it was 1 am? Because I didn’t sleep until I knew they were home. See? I’m back to having teens in the house.
Funny how the role reversal has taken place. I feel like I’m the mother and they are the children. I call my mom and ask her when they will be home for dinner. I do their laundry. I make their breakfast. I ask them where they are going and when they think they will be back.
And at the moment, I’m about to set a curfew for them.
To top it off my dog, Scooter, can’t figure out whose room he wants to sleep in half the time. This means I am up in the night as if I had a newborn baby – Scooter will scratch to get out of my room to get to their room and sometimes vice versa.
But to me, the most amazing thing about this entire flood ordeal is how my parents have handled the curveball that has been viciously thrown at them and landed square on the forehead, right between the eyes.
I’ve seen my mom cry maybe three times in six weeks. Let me rephrase: I’ve seen her shed maybe three tears in six weeks. She said, “I’m sorry I broke down, I’m better now.” BROKE DOWN? Sister, that ain’t breaking down. Give me a minute and some floor space and I’ll show you what a break down really looks like. Her generation must under-dramatize everything and my generation (or maybe just me) must over-dramatize everything.
My dad has been a pillar of strength and incredibly steady for both of them. Their home was their cocoon for 41 years. They loved their house unlike any two people I’ve seen. Especially my mom. It’s not a mansion or some extravagant palace. But it was their perfect home that looked like something out of Colonial Williamsburg.
However, it’s now been taken to the studs without their permission and a huge amount of their possessions are gone.
They don’t complain. They don’t wring their hands. Their attitude has been one I just hope and pray I could emulate if and when a storm hits my life. Just remembering that God holds each day and this disaster did not catch Him off guard helps keep them centered, I’m sure.
My parents have had to be on the receiving end of life lately and that is not a role that comes naturally to them, but it’s been necessary given the circumstances. And those of us around them have been on the giving end.
I am starting to see who has benefited the most.
And I have a hunch it’s not Lucy and Ricky.