The Day After Tomorrow…

It is crazy to me that I ever just went about my day as if nothing happened, while the people of New Orleans were suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  How is it, that the day after tomorrow will be the same for me as today…a cruel game of waiting while seemingly nothing gets done.  I am aware that things take time, and I am sure that compared to the tragedy in NO, the response here in NYC is a vast improvement…but I don’t live in Atlantic City or NYC.  I live in a little city by the sea…..a little city that was engulfed by the sea….Long Beach, NY.

If you didn’t grow up there, you might not understand it.  Even Mister LK has trouble with it sometimes, but Long Beach just sticks with you.  Try as you may to get out or move away, when something happens in Long Beach…you know about it.  Thanks to social media, you usually know about it in around 2.3 seconds…except now there is no power, no water, no sewer, no cell service.  You don’t know anything for days.  We were evacuated on Monday, and thank gd we did or I can’t even imagine where I would be right now.

As small of a city as Long Beach is, the coverage of this storm consisted of 2-3 blocks on the beach in the center of town.  I live on the bay.  There were no photographs, no indication of the state of my home…I couldn’t get back there to see for myself until Wednesday.  I was prepared for the worst…and it was 3% better than I expected.  My house is destroyed.  The home that Mister LK and I have spent the last 2 years working on, fixing up, and loving is standing, but everything in it is gone.  96% of my belongings are garbage.  The few things that survived … well I’d like to thank my Grandma in heaven for saving them.

I am sad about the loss of things like photographs.  I am worried about loss of things like receipts collected for all of our house repairs/upgrades.  I am annoyed at things like the loss of all the weeks of hard work we (mainly Mister LK and Uncle C) put into fixing up our house.  But all those feelings can’t hold a match to the devastation I feel for my baby girl.  I know it has been a while since I have posted on this blog, that is because I am exhausted from growing this baby inside & working with Miss A to use her words and not her crying as method of communication!  She is an amazing little girl and because she is so incredibly verbal, I know things like the strength of her attachment to her toys she sleeps with, to her dollhouse she cherished, I know her need for her routine and that “I want to go back to Long Beach.  I want to go to MY house.  I want MY toys.  I want to go lay in my mommy and daddy’s bed.”  She loves her Grandma’s house, but she also hears everything we say & knows something is wrong.  This is a conversation that was overheard yesterday between my sweet girl and the refrigerator repair man at Grandma’s house.

A:      “Hi.  My name is A”

RM:  “Hi.  I’m Andrew”

A:  “What are you doing?”

RM:  “I’m fixing the freezer because it is broken”

A:  “Oh…My freezer is broken too…from all of the mud.  But the man is going to fix it and I’m going to have a big girl room”

Since the morning of the storm, we have been reminded what a strong support system we have.  There are many families out there with nowhere to go, nothing to eat, no way to get back on their feet.  My mom has taken us in and helped us have a warm place to call home from the beginning.  She has been our life-saver.  My sister made sure we had dinner and a warm shower when there was no power at Mom’s house.  My dad has offered us help in getting our house rebuilt and made sure we have people we can trust to start the rebuilding process as well as give Mister LK and I some really valuable insight into rebuilding from scratch.  My sister-in-law was one of the first to come back with us to assess the damage and to remind us that the house will be better than before and my brother-in-law, who has put countless hours of hard, manual labor into our house from the moving in, to the renovations has come to our side once again to help us start the clean up and rebuilding.  I know that for him and Mister LK this must feel like Sandy just trampled over their 10,000 piece lego land!  Our family and friends, from everywhere in the world have contacted us to offer anything they can.  The movement from everyone to support us and make sure we have what we need is so touching that I can’t really find the words to thank everyone.  It brings me to tears when I think of how lucky we are and how we have built our life around such an outstanding group of people.  Thanks to all of them, all of you, Miss A is not going through this alone, she is happy and healthy.  She has food, clothes, shelter, toys, books, and the best people surrounding her.  Nothing breaks my heart more than to see my little girl worried…and thanks to everyone around us she’s feeling better and better.  This is my number 1 priority…to make sure that Miss A feels happy and safe through this long haul.  Thank you to everyone who has helped calm me down, make me see that while we lost most of our possessions, we didn’t lose the most important things and that is our lives, our family and our friends.  We will always have a place to go to and although this is going to be a very very long road, we will be ok at the end.

Thank you to all of our family and friends who were able to come to our house yesterday and put everything on the curb.  Thank you to the girls for not laughing at what we found in the rubble of my childhood memory boxes (at least not in front of me!), and thank you everyone for laughing at some of the things that we did find!  Thank you for not getting frustrated at my lack of decision making when I was just shocked at the amount of possessions that were being thrown away.  Thank you for being so patient with me when I couldn’t go into the moldy house.  Thank you for loading my car with the best types of junk food and making our front seat tailgate party one that I will never forget.  Thank you for getting dirty.  Thank you to our friend ML who got filthy and made me laugh on HER birthday.  You just don’t find friends like this.  I have said this to some of you already…I hope to never have to repay this exact favor, but wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever you need…..we are here and will be forever indebted to you.

Most of all, thank you Miss A for being so generous and repeating “I just want to go help clean up my home!”  I’ve never been more proud of you.  You are a 30 year old person in the body of a 2 1/2 year old.  Mommy and Daddy are going to take care of this one for you Miss A.  You have nothing to worry about.  You should just enjoy being your little girl self and we will make sure everything in your home is better than before!  You are going to have the best big girl room any big girl could dream of.  We promise!

I might complain about the frustrations of this process or of the inconveniences of being pregnant and exhausted while finding our way in this new world of ours, but underneath it all, I know that nothing is that bad.  I have the world’s best husband who has taken on so much so that I don’t have to worry.  He is an amazing father and my best friend.  Thank you Mister LK for taking this situation, handling it & making me feel like you are in such control and showing me I have nothing to worry about.  I love you.

Thank you again to everyone who has thought of us over the last few days.

We have Long Beach sand in our shoes…and always will…