Another year in central Florida, another brush with a hurricane. Two years ago, Hurricane Irma crashed through and disrupted our existence for a week or so. This year, Dorian stumbled by, brushing by the coast to our east.
Thankfully for us, Dorian mostly stayed away. Our thoughts are with those in the Bahamas. I cannot imagine the horror they have been through. Here, however, the main obstacle was boredom. Because Dorian stalled out near our coast, school was cancelled for several days. Just when we were back in the groove, suddenly we were out of it again.
To pass the time, we watched TV, read books, played toys, fought over toys, fought over TV, spilled Gatorade, and perhaps most notably, played outside with plastic grocery bags and an umbrella.
Don’t worry. No one suffocated. And no one floated off like Mary Poppins. Even though my children were a bit concerned about this possibility.
“Hold the umbrella and see if it’ll lift you up,” I told my three-year-old.
“It’s going to take me to the moon?” she replied, a bit hesitantly.
“Maybe,” I said with a shrug.
Perhaps I wasn’t helping matters.
Despite their concerns, the kids ran around in our cul-de-sac experimenting with bags from different stores to see which flew the farthest on the freshening tropical breeze (Publix bags were the winners, obviously).
They even roped me into participating for a few minutes by telling me over and over again just how fun it was to float plastic bags into the air and chase after them. In my opinion, it wasn’t super fun, but I get the appeal. And I realized once again, while I love spending time with my kids and experiencing the relentless joy they derive from the seemingly mundane, I like watching more than I do participating. Though, it is nice to be asked. Kind of like how I want to be invited to parties or events and not actually have to go.
After we had sufficiently exhausted ourselves and squeezed every bit of entertainment we could out of recycled plastic, we headed back inside for more TV and a bit of hand puppetry in the closet.
The power didn’t go out and the conditions didn’t warrant a stay in our safe room—walk-in closet—but we had prepared it, so you better believe we were going to use it!
The kids gathered all their sleeping items, which included at least four pillows and two hundred stuffed animals, several tablets, a few battery-powered lanterns, and a bag full of snacks and set up camp. We sat on the floor making hand puppets on the wall by the light of the lanterns until I got too hot in the stuffy closet. I managed to escape somehow, braving the elements, and they stayed in their hideout for almost an hour.
At this point, Dorian still hadn’t arrived. It actually never did, dealing the center part of the state less than a glancing blow. But still, we were ready. And grateful for our luck. And relatively happy to have some extra relaxed time together. Both inside the stuffy closet and out.