The spring months in North Texas always bring about a much dreaded phenomenon--the tornado. Last night was our first big threat of the year. At 4:43 Thursday morning, the tornado sirens went off, which brought me instantly awake and clamoring to check the weather. Before I could even get the light on, the power went out and the wind began howling and shrieking. Not a good sound. I ran to Aiden's room, scooped him and his pillow and blankets up in one heap and planted him in the bath tub. Brad ran for the crank lantern, I ran for the nearest mattress, dragging it into the hallway outside the bathroom, in case things got hairy. Then it was a mad dash to our closets to grab clothing and shoes. We quickly gathered a few emergency water containers into the bathroom as well, and then sat to wait.
I tried to peer out the doors and windows to see if I could see anything serious, but the wind and rain were so fierce, I couldn't see past the end of our back porch. So I walked back to the bathroom and climbed in to hold Aiden, who sat wide-eyed in the bath tub, asking us all about "tromadoes." He wasn't the least bit afraid--we had scrambled but remained calm and reassuring, so he thought this was some crazy, fun new family ritual--a middle of the night bathtub party. Aiden kept begging to go outside to look at the "tromado," so I finally distracted him by singing songs with him in the bath tub.
After about 20 or 30 minutes, the winds and rains relented as the storm moved on. We turned the TV on to find out whether the worst had passed, and Aiden stared transfixed at the satellite images. "Cool movie!" he said. Finally, after the all clear was called, we all crawled back into bed.
I laid down with Aiden, trying to get him settled, but he was understandably wired after our middle of the night activities. Thinking he would settle in on his own, I wandered back to my bed at about 5:45--only to have Aiden wake me up 15 minutes later. I trudged back down the hall, resisting the urge to just let him climb in with us, and finally got him settled and asleep. At 6:15 AM, I crawled back into my bed and promptly fell asleep--only to be awakened by a curious little boy at 8:30 asking "Mommy, where the tromado go?" Aiden is obsessed with "tromadoes" today--he's drawing pictures of them, talking about them, asking lots of questions, but thankfully, he isn't afraid, just fascinated.
Luckily our neighborhood only received minor wind damage. Many of the neighboring subdivisions got it much worse--fallen trees, downed power lines, even overturned cars. Tornadoes did touch down in a couple of cities nearby, but thankfully we avoided any damage--just some lawn furniture that has blown around the yard.
Hopefully, we'll be spared any more of these experiences this year, but you never know. I can remember a spring as a child growing up in Oklahoma where we spent MANY occasions (10, if I recall correctly) watching the sky anxiously, climbing down the stairs into the storm cellar. Much like earthquakes in California, spring tornadoes are just a part of life in North Texas. So I'm sure Aiden will enjoy a couple more midnight bathtub parties before the summer arrives!