A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disasters from Distances Great and Small

I've been meaning to post about so much the past few moths-- Smudgie's first birthday and our TTC plans, such as they are, and the brutal schedule I'm hewing to right now, trying to get this dissertation written and feeling like I've fallen so short.

But it's been a hard month, for a lot of people, and that's what I keep coming back to. I saw a man collapse and turn blue running my first 10k the other weekend on a beautiful October morning, the triumph of finishing marred by worry for what had happened to him. And sadness days later when my running group learned of his death.

The brutal murder of two beautiful children in this city last week tore my heart out. Thoughts of a mother and father's devastation are still haunting.

And now, a storm like I've never seen before battering my beautiful city.

For the record, LG, Smudgie, Bella and I are fine. There are benefits to living in a neighborhood built on a hill. Some downed trees and a few hours without cable for some families around us were the extent of the damage. LG's office is in the Lower Manhattan flood zone and completely closed (though miraculously not flooded). He and I trade off staying home with Smudgie and trying to arm-wrestle for a table at one of the suddenly over crowded coffee shops near our house. But we are lucky and don't we know it. Hot showers have never felt like such a luxury.

Obviously, so many others are not lucky. We're swapping out my couch-surfing sisters day by day. They're three days without power now, and it's getting cold. They're desperate enough for some basic comforts to put up with Brooklyn's sudden isolation from Manhattan. Because, yeah, there are 43 MILLION gallons of water in the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and not a single subway line running between the two boroughs. Or any power from Battery Park to 39th Street once you get into Manhattan, if you choose to walk for over an hour from my house to the Brooklyn Bridge and across. We're a little, tree-lined island of kids who can't believe they're getting yet another day off school. Like I said, very lucky. But isolated.

It's weird. This is bad. I see the footage of flooding in Manhattan, in Red Hook just down the hill, in Hoboken, of power stations exploding, see the snarling traffic at the end of our block, several miles from the Bridges, as people pick up hitchhikers to take them into the city. And I see worse things on tv--the houses burnt to the ground in Queens, the devastation on the Jersey Shore. But I know it's going to be okay.

I think for anyone who lived in New York on 9/11, that will always be The Event, the one that everything else is compared to. It's difficult to describe how terrifying that day was here--and the weeks after, in a city where even the air smelled like death. It felt like we would never be done mourning and that life would never, never be normal again.

So I always think, we got through that. We came back stronger. We'll get through this, too, and be better able to deal with the next one. New Yorkers are tough, but pretty awesome to each other when things go bad.

I'm fine. My city isn't, but it will be. If you want to help those who've been displaced in NY/NJ, the Red Cross is always good.