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.


  1. Unfortunately, it's hard not to feel like your dissertation work has fallen short. Ultimately, when it is all done, you wonder what took you so long, and feel that you could have written the whole thing in a couple of months, with what you know NOW. It's a sad side-effect of enormous intellectual growth, that your previous accomplishments seem paltry... Until a few years pass by, and then you'll re-read it and be impressed with yourself :).

    Also, Huge Happy Birthday to Smudgie! I'd love to hear about it.

    But that's not what your post was about... I'm very sorry for everyone affected by Sandy, and for the other tragedies that have tangentially touched you in the past month or two. But I am glad that you remain on a cozy island of happiness, amidst it all.

    As for the future, I'm hoping we don't have to share too much ttc angst in coming months-- but I'm here in the trenches to hold your hand when you do step down in!

  2. I've been waiting for smudgie's birthday post. Happy belated mr cutie pie! I didn't take this storm seriously at all until I almost got cut off from manhattan for my FET. We had to stay in a hotel near the clinic!! And then the dear that I couldn't get OUT of manhattan and back to baby girl

  3. Ugh. Hate blogger. As I write this I am waiting outdoors in the cold waiting for tr N train to the city for monitoring. What a poorly timed cycle this is. Glad that u guys are well. I just posted the other day with our big news :o)

  4. Happy Belated Birthday to Smudgie as well. I'm looking forward to that post. And your TTC plans. We are waiting until I have a dissertation proposal approved, I'm hoping I can get it out by end of May, but as we know these things can drag on. Especially since my Exam to advance was postponed due to Sandy.

    I like your explanation of a safe little island. I feel the same way. Our neighborhood is so neighborhood centric, that in some ways it seems life as normal and then I see the devastation in the news. I am in Manhattan so rarely these days that it seems even further away.
    Glad to know you are safe.

  5. Glad to hear that you are safe! This storm was strange indeed. I have friends and family mere miles away hit so much harder than we were. It's so weird...

  6. I'm so happy to hear you're ok! I tweeted at you a couple of days ago to see how you were but got no response. I know responding to my tweets was not on the top of your list!

    Hope all is well with you!

  7. Happy first birthday, Smudgie!!

    The storm was insane and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it. We were supposed to be badly hit and were hit not at all. Those pictures of the Rockaways and Hoboken and the Jersey Shore are...I don't have words. (As to the two bubs on the UWS, I get choked up whenever I think of it).

  8. You have a 1 year old!?! Happy birthday, Smudgie!! Happy momaversary to you, Sloper.

    So glad that you are all doing fine in the wake of the storm, and I hope soon the city is returned to normalcy. Reading this post gave me goosebumps thinking about how much NYC has been through in the last 12 years. HUGS.

    Also, Hi, this is AL from my new account :)

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