Tag Archives: Halloween

Super Storm Sandy One Year Later

I sip my morning cup of tea and gaze outside. The leaves are in their jewel-toned glory. Dappled sunlight streams through the window and the quiet peacefulness envelops me like a fuzzy blanket.

Not so a year ago today, when the fury known as Super Storm Sandy whipped up the east coast and wrought devastation and destruction in her path.

The Calm Before the Storm

It was two days before Halloween and our carved pumpkin grinned toothlessly on the front porch.  My husband brought our ceramic jack o lantern up from the basement and we filled it with candy for the dozens of trick or treaters we get every year.

And then, we started to hear the dire forecasts. This time the meteorologists got it exactly right.

We lost power that night and didn’t get it back for five days. Even worse, we were unable to get information about our summer home at the Jersey shore.

Hurricane Sandy 2012

Hurricane Sandy 2012 (Photo credit: charliekwalker)

Halloween didn’t happen in our cold and desolate neighborhood last year. There were no twinkling lights, no children running from door to door. My husband and I came home each night to darkness and huddled under every blanket to be had.

But we fared well compared to thousands of others. The power did come back, and our home at the shore was spared.

The magnitude of this loss will reverberate for years as communities strive to rebuild. But what about the damage to our psyches? The emotional impact of this natural disaster can not be underestimated. And children, all too often, are the silent victims.

Before another disaster hits, we need to make sure that we are prepared. Not just with a stronger infrastructure, but with plans and procedures in place to make sure our children will be protected.

We are Not There Yet.

A new report commissioned by Save the Children, “Unaccounted For: A National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disaster,” identifies troubling holes in the system – in emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

On this anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, I join other bloggers in promoting a new initiative by Save the Children, called “Get Ready. Get Safe” to help families and communities protect children at times of disasters. Before another super storm hits, and the prediction is that Sandy will be followed by others, let’s do what we can to prepare.

A Call to Action

Save the Children has a checklist for parents and caregivers, an interactive map, and your state’s report card on emergency preparedness here.

How can you help? Urge your governor to either meet the report card standards or make sure child-focused emergency plans are in place and practice. 

It’s only a matter of time. until it happens again.

Disclosure: I am not being compensated by Save the Children or any other entity for writing this post. I am joining other bloggers from #PANJ4Good and across the country to share this important information on emergency preparedness.

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Mom Revisited

I nod with a knowing smile at my young mother friends who throw up their hands at the latest crisis with their children. Is it bed-wetting, pink eye, inability to play nicely with others? Mark my words, I say, you will blink and all of a sudden they’re grown up. This is what older women used to tell me when I was a young mother and I thought they didn’t know what they were talking about.

How fleeting those years would be I could not understand, not with a fretful, colicky infant who screamed himself into exhaustion night after night. I remember wishing those years away, wanting him to grow up.

Now I would give anything to go back in time to savor every moment a bit longer. My little boy grew up way too fast, and now he lives halfway across the world. I miss him so much.

Evan is here for a visit now, and as an added bonus, three of his buddies flew in for a few days. The house has been  bustling with 24/7 hubbub: deep guy voices talking football and trash, late night pizza deliveries, ping-pong matches, clothes and electronic devices scattered throughout. Tantalizing aromas of home cooked hearty casseroles and peanut butter cookies waft through the house. I fill the dishwasher, empty it. Rinse and repeat.

I have loved every minute. Gerry, Mike and Dan are now officially our adopted sons and have an open invitation to come back anytime.

The guys holding tickets to the Eagles/Cowboys game — Gerry, Evan, Mike, Dan

Evan gave them the grand tour of our fair city, Philadelphia. They sampled cheese steaks and hoagies until they could eat no more. They also went to a Halloween party.

My son, the rabbi, second from left

Today, as they all board their various flights, I will be straightening up the house, throwing a few loads of laundry in the wash, reheating the leftover baked ziti for dinner. And missing the guys a lot.

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Helicoptering

Congratulations to all the parents whose children have graduated from high school. Your darling sons and daughters are happily morphing from high school student to college freshman.  Commencement is over, yearbooks have been signed (they do still do that, right?) and the quest for a summer job is underway.

You, dear parent, have cried, exulted, worried and philosophized.  But now that your son or daughter is positioned for the next four years, I am here to tell you that it is time to plan for your future.

Consider this: no more “Back to School” nights, sitting uncomfortably in those student desk/chairs while trying to look interested in the expectations or recriminations of long suffering high school teachers. No more PTA meetings, bake sales, soccer tournaments, Halloween parades, choir recitals or  high school musicals.

What are you going to do with all this extra time?

Of course you have your 9-5 job, your gardening club, grocery shopping, fantasy football and all the other mundane tasks that we pack into our days. But be honest now. Is there a part of you that secretly yearns for the carpool line? Will you have to resist driving by the baseball field to catch a few innings? Are you still humming the tunes from last spring’s high school musical?

Good news: your prayers have been answered. These days, the gates of college are open not just to incoming freshmen, but their aging boomer parents as well.

Responding to the outcry of parents who want to retain their position in their offspring’s day-to-day lives, many institutions of higher education have adopted a full scale of parent programming and opportunities for involvement, giving you a way to extend the active parenting years a bit further. Do you have fond memories of serving on a school committee? There’s room for you. Miss volunteering at school events? Just sign up and the job is yours.

And whether your child reacts with glee or despair, you don’t have to cut the apron strings. Not yet.

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