29 April 2011


(Image courtesy of me and the Tiny Planet app.)

Wednesday night was a bad night.

Understatement, I know.

You all know about my anxiety issues. Death, am I a good enough mother/wife/friend/yadda-yadda, EVERYTHING. Wednesday night, I had a triple-play going on. I was convinced that our deaths were imminent because of the horrifying radar images I couldn't turn away from. Top that off with my impending dulcimer performance this coming Sunday and my four-hour drive to Albany, Georgia Thursday morning, and I was in full-on Give me a hug, now, Ty-man or I'm gonna find me a 24-hour Xanax drive-thru.

We were damned lucky that we sustained absolutely no damage during the night. It was eerie. Even as the sirens went off (FOUR TIMES!), there was barely any wind, no rain, and minimal lightning. Our only loss was sleep. And so it was, with four hours of sleep, dulcimer loaded into the Corvette, that I headed four hours south to Albany, Georgia, home of the Westover Comprehensive High School Patriots.

Westover High's Academic Decathlon team took home the medium-sized school champion trophy for the Georgia state competition, which qualified them to participate in the National Decathlon on-line competition yesterday and today. And that means I was arrowing south to make sure their testing occurred by the rules, smoothly, with no hiccups.

I was not happy. I was still on edge from the night before, reeling from the images I had seen, upon waking up, of Tuscaloosa and Ringgold. I wondered what I would see on my trip south, if I would encounter any debris. Thirty-five miles north of Macon, I found it. A swath of trees on both sides of I-75 had been chewed by the storms. I could smell the pine sap even through the car's air vents. I was not pleased.

The further I traveled, the darker the skies while severe storm warnings played out on the radio.

Several times, I thought about turning around. But that wouldn't have been fair to those nine students at Westover who had been studying so very hard since August to have this chance to compete on a national level.

I got there an hour early and took a deep, cleansing breath. Everything was set up for me, I didn't have to stress, I had avoided the worst of the early-morning storms, and there was no need for my anxiety. The kids did beautifully, the Internet stayed up, and testing went like clockwork. Compared to the night before, Thursday was a dream. As I sat in my chair, watching the Westover decathletes, I smiled. These nine decathletes had made me laugh several times with their wry humor and teenage angst. It made me wish for one day back at South Charleston High School, to smell the halls and hear the familiar voices of friends and acquaintances. It's these fleeting moments, found each year with Georgia decathletes, that I see that glimmer of hope for the future. They DO have purpose, hopes, dreams, and ambitions, just like all of us at that age. They aren't those pesky teenagers, they're people, and being around them reminds me of this. Being around youth is keeping me young and it was a panacea in the face of Wednesday night's destruction and death.

I took those warm, fuzzy happys back to my hotel and played my dulcimer like nobody's business. Only one more hurdle this week and it's seeming less and less intimidating. I'll make it yet. Won't we all?


HEATHER said...

I'm glad you all are ok.

hello haha narf said...

i'm glad you pushed past your fears and were there for the kids. you are a good woman. one who will be fantastic at her dulcimer performance. i have no doubt.

also, i cry seeing discarded christmas tress out for garbage pick up. seeing the destruction from the violent weather would no doubt have upset me greatly. #heartbreaking

Grant said...

The dulcimer. So not metal. Seriously, try musically growling "Kill your cats for Satan" the next time you're practicing. It just doesn't work. Bagpipes, on the other hand, are total thrash.

Did something happen in Georgia Wednesday night? I drank beer, played Wii disc golf, and watched Veronica Mars. The usual.

Megan said...

A rough couple of days, but you survived it. That which does not kills and all that.

You will do beautifully with your performance. Promise.

Michael from dadcation.com said...

At one point that night, I actually said, "You know, Heather's got her kids in the basement for the night, whereas ours are upstairs. Are we bad parents?" But then we went to sleep and hoped the tornado would miss Atlanta, which it totally did!

Unknown said...

Just keep your head down, Darlin'. Keep your butt safe.

Patois42 said...

I, too, am glad you all are okay.

Avitable said...

They're only "those pesky kids" when they unmask Mr. Withers as the man playing the zombie who was trying to destroy the amusement park.

(I'm glad you were able to work through what you needed. You're so damn strong and sometimes you don't even realize it.)

Faiqa said...

You're incredible... just... well, incredible. And so strong. XO