We were right in the midst of it! I’m not sure how you Californians do it! I know this may not have been that big of a deal to most, but personally, I was…shall we say…terrified?! Yeah, I would say that would be a rather accurate statement!
I was getting Kenley dressed on the changing table in the girls’ room before leaving for the pediatrician when suddenly the entire house started shaking. I honestly didn’t know what to think at first. I mean we don’t get earthquakes here!
I held Kenley still with one arm and held Layla tight against my side with the other. Right after it began there was a slight pause which made me think, “Okay, it’s over!” But then it started right back up and got even stronger…Layla kept asking over and over, “What is it? What is it?” I’m not sure what I said. I think I was afraid to say… honestly, I wasn’t sure what I thought it was. Maybe on the west coast it would have been an immediate no-brainer, but being on the east coast and coming up on the tenth anniversary of 9/11…a few possibilities were running through my head…none of which I really wanted to voice. I was just praying everything was okay…that my husband who was an hour and a half away was okay, that the rest of my family was okay, and that I would just get my girls out of the house safe and sound.
As soon as the shaking was over, I scooped Kenley up in nothing but a diaper, grabbed Layla by the hand and told her to quickly come with me and not let go of my hand. She nodded showing she understood and held tight to me. We carefully made our way down the stairs. We passed the living room and saw some of the effects of what had just happened. I pulled the girls into the kitchen to quickly look out the window and saw neighbors running to the house, quickly followed by banging on the door. I yelled out, “We’re coming!” And headed down the last set of stairs to get the girls out. My neighbors and I were all shocked and just wanting to make sure everybody was okay and accounted for.
We spent the next several minutes on the driveway, making phone calls and looking up on my neighbor’s laptop what was going on. At first, I couldn’t reach Sean. And well after our experience with 9/11 which I’ll tell you about some other time, I really wanted to just hear his voice!
I finally reached my mom and she was okay. It seemed that the girls and I were actually closer to the center and being that my mom was between us and where my husband works, I at least felt a little better, thinking the impact would not have been as great where he was. Shortly after speaking with her, my phone rang and I was relieved to see Sean’s number on the caller I.D. He was okay! They evacuated his building, but it seemed that everybody was fine.
After about an hour and forty minutes of waiting outside (just in case of aftershocks), my neighbors and I all decided to head back into our homes and begin cleaning up. When I came back in, the biggest thing that struck me was that the huge mirror over the fireplace had fallen and completely shattered. I had noticed it when the girls and I were passing by the living room to get out of the house, but what amazed me was that I hadn’t heard it when it fell. How could I not have heard it?
When I went back up to the girls’ room, I noticed books had fallen, Layla’s nightstand and lamp had fallen, and I hadn’t realized it when I was standing right there. But yeah, the mirror…it was mainly the mirror that got me…a large mirror falling and shattering on a marble fireplace and I didn’t recall hearing anything of the sort. It’s just weird…especially considering that now I hear everything…every little creak in the house, a trash can being rolled outside, the air conditioning turning on, the UPS truck going by…And you know what? My mind is working like a computer…as soon as I hear a sound, it’s like I go through an automatic database search…sound equals…and then once I identify it I feel fine, but I have to identify it!
I don’t imagine this feeling will stick around long, but I think it’s definitely been a little amplified being a mom and the fact that my little ones were looking to me during the whole thing. Kenley isn’t old enough for any of it to really have had a lasting effect, but Layla is at a not-so-good age for this kind of a thing. She’s old enough to be completely aware of what’s going on and be terrified, yet not quite old enough to grasp that this kind of thing is VERY RARE…at least where we live.
Layla was handling everything pretty well until bedtime last night. As we were trying to put her down, she seemed to become very concerned with the earthquake and wanted to know if one was going to happen during the night. We tried to assure her that this was something that rarely happens and she might never experience another one, but that Daddy and I would take care of her and her sister. She insisted that if one DID happen during the night that we come and get her and Kenley “quickly because things could fall and hurt us”. My husband kept the calm face, trying to ease her mind and I just hugged her against me so she couldn’t see the tears running down my cheek. Eventually, with some encouragement she went to sleep, but it was by mommy’s side. I’m sure tonight will be fine, but yesterday was a big day for this little three year old and well, she needed to be close to mommy and daddy, and you know what?…Mommy needed it too! Thank you, Lord, for my family…I love them!
I hope all of you and your loved ones are safe and sound. Please leave a comment if you’d like to share your story…