My heart aches. As a person and as a mom.
I am paralyzed by the images. I can't imagine being a child (or parent) dealing with the terror of a tornado nor can I imagine preparing our family for such a tragedy. And it is scary. I just want to hold Jake all night.
What I have to say here is not life-or-death but each and every uncontrollable event is life-changing in the lives of kids with autism.
I don't believe the weather will ever be like it was when I was a kid. I don't think summer showers will ever be the worm-scented-light-rain-with-a-rainbow-at-the-end. Winter snowfalls are now a foot or more, no longer just big flakes floating from heaven and landing gently on the ground.
Following natural disasters, I find myself scurrying around trying to brew up my own whirlwind of reassurances. I lie. I cover, I hide the newspaper and I play dumb.
Protecting fear-filled kids from the anxiety and uncertainty of the wicked weather is critical and difficult. Jake cannot function in the grips of anxiety. I barely can.
Must keep calm.
I try desperately not to let Jake see my saddness, the pictures of the damage, or hear the news. Those snapshots of devastation will be burned into his brain and transferred to our yard. I avoid all radios, televisions and computer news reports, despite my out-of-control-news-nose from 12 years of producing.
Is this the right thing?
I have no idea.
Jake's head hit the pillow tonight and I thought I made it. Even with all these precautions, his anxiety still commandeered his fluffy covers: "Are we going to have thunder and lightening?" "Is a tornado going to take our house?" "What if lightening hits our house, I have to run across the street?" "Will it catch on fire?" The questions are all strung together and firing a mile a minute. Churning up an emotional storm of their own.
The fear in his voice breaks my heart. So much anxiety in things we can't control.
The words: I don't know.
Prayers for safety, peace and complete recovery for Oklahoma families.