Yesterday Nashville's suburbs were ripped by a number of tornadoes
. I spent most of the afternoon glued to my TV and weather radio....the whole situation was a bad reminder of April 16, 1998, when my neighborhood was devastated by a large tornado.
This time around it was much more emotionally complicated of course -- with a 1st grader scheduled to get out of school about the time the storms were coming in, you're faced with one of those awful choices you have to make as a parent: Should I rush over to pick her up? Well how stupid would that be, considering that they'll lock down the school for the tornado safety plan, and I'll be out on the street in a car and she'll be safe in the school basement?
And is she safer at my house than her after-care? Well actually, probably not. There's a basement there and we don't have one at home.
And wouldn't it freak her out if I rushed in to pick her up? Probably. You have to explain stuff to 6yos. They don't just accept everything at face value anymore.
So in fact, the only thing that would be improved by my picking her up would be my emotional state, briefly. Hmmm.
In the end, after several phone conversations, her dad and I decided she was just fine at school and that's where she stayed. Here's the best part. Was she scared? Heck no. She was mad that in the emergency preparations, she'd had to leave her backpack and lunchbox in the classroom, and that by Monday, the plastic bags in her lunchbox will be distgusting. She'll have to throw them away instead of reusing them -- as in, reduce, reuse, recycle. She's all ready for Earth Day.
Talked with several friends from the 'hood today while our girls all had their dance lesson -- everyone had been through a similar experience to mine yesterday afternoon. We were all reminded far too much of the '98 tornado, and shaken by how close (11 miles) some of the damage was yesterday.
More dramatic damage was only slightly farther to the north, in Gallatin, TN, home of my coworker Bill Hudgins and his wife Wilda Dodson. They are fine but have many friends affected.
While we could have a tornado at almost any time of year in Nashville (several years ago both Clarksville and Jackson, TN, were hit by enormous twisters in January, of all times), the spring always seems the most volatile, with lots of temperature fluctuations and rapidly changing weather. Here's to summer.