"Hey, we did something to the TV and we don't know how to fix it. Do you have a minute to help us fix it?" It was my dad on the phone, calling me at work from my house, where he and my mother were camping out after Hurricane Sandy. I had to put him on hold two or three times, but I eventually walked them through how to get the cable working again.
For most New Jerseyeans Hurricane Sandy has been a royal pain in the you-know-what, if not a downright tragedy. But for my kids it has been nothing but fun, fun, fun. The day of the hurricane our power stayed on until shortly after the little ones went to bed. To distract them from the sound of the wind whipping around the eves I let them watch as much TV as they wanted. Since I ration TV like water in the dessert they couldn't believe their good fortune and happily lapped it up.
Later, a little melatonin at bed time helped all three kids sleep soundly through the night. Big Brother and I hardly slept a wink as we listened to the wind screaming, the live power line two houses down the street flapping and spitting sparks, and the house creaking and groaning around us, but the kids didn't notice a thing.
In the morning we had no power, but the small fry had fun playing with their toys and didn't really notice. They liked having cereal for both breakfast and lunch, too. Since the power came back just before dinner while it was still light outside their evening proceeded as usual.
Since Grandma and Grandpa still have no power they came to stay with us last night when it got too cold to be bearable in their house, which was even more fun, fun, fun for the kids. Having Grandparents to play with last night certainly to helped make up for no Trick-or-treating on Halloween.
This morning instead of it being just me, the cat and the dog hanging out and having our coffee, enjoying the peace an quiet, it was me, the cat, the dog, both my parents and Big Brother, who volunteered to sleep on the couch. There was a lot of confused milling around in the kitchen, some barking from the dog who wasn't pleased at all these intruders into his space before he'd even had his breakfast, and some grumping from a tired teenager who stayed out too late the night before. Unless the power comes back on today at Grandma and Grandpa's house we'll all be repeating our impromptu morning routine again tomorrow.
As I think about the destruction around us and pray for those who are in crisis I am also fervently counting my blessings, and not the least of those has been time spent with family and a renewed sense of perspective on what truly matters in life.