On Saturday we thought we’d see a little bit of rain this week. My husband mowed the lawn. On Sunday, I placed an extra grocery order for the week, just to make sure we’d have fruit and milk for the week. The radar was showing a storm headed our way, but it didn’t look too terrible just yet. Monday, I threw some clothes in a bag for everyone and made sure I had our Social Security cards and birth certificates on hand. And I grabbed a newborn swaddle, tossed it in the bag and hoped we wouldn’t need it if we eventually had to leave town.
This is all standard fare during hurricane season, of course, and something I’m not unfamiliar with. I’ve lived in Southwest Louisiana my whole life and been through more than a few evacuations for major storms. When you’re a Louisiana coastal resident, you learn what to do during a major storm by osmosis. You learn what to bring, where to go, what you’ll need when you get there.
But Tuesday morning we woke up, and something felt different. Hurricane Laura was now projected to be Category 3, and we needed to evacuate. It wasn’t mandatory yet but became so as the morning went on. And unlike the evacuations of my childhood, this time I wasn’t being told what to grab or where we were going by my parents.
Now I’m the parent. And it’s our house and stuff, my child I’m loading up in a car, trying to explain to her why we’re leaving behind her beloved swing set and can’t bring every single book on the shelf as we head up to my grandfather’s house a few hours away, ready to settle in for a few days of nervous news watching and hand wringing.
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