Monday, February 28, 2011

The fires...

My dad always told me as a child to stop being so "attitudinal."  When I got older and stressed over jobs or decisions, my dad told me to "quit being so pessimistic" and "lose the sarcasm."  Who knows how many times he told me to “Look on the bright side!"  Those statements (and many others) have always gotten on my nerves.  How dare someone tell me how to feel or how to act?  Who does he think he is?  My father??  … Oh, yeah.  Oops.

Well anyway, every now and then, my "sarcasmicatude" comes out, gets the better of me, and there’s no stopping it.  And the sad thing is that since becoming pregnant and having a beautiful baby girl, it seems that the pessimistic smarty pants crazy-bot in me has only gotten worse.  So, please keep in mind that I mean no harm when I shout, cry incessantly, or throw an all-out baby temper tantrum over things, especially when I'm supposed to "look on the bright side"… like with what I’m about to write.

Our home has been ransacked.  Has it been burglarized?  NO.  We did it ourselves.  We destroyed it and flipped it practically upside-down when we were digging for our most “prized, precious, priceless” possessions and memories last night.   And why did we do this?  The fires.  Fires that flared up and got a little too close to our home for comfort.

If it had just been our house, empty, I would’ve said “let the shack burn!”  Don’t get me wrong – I am thankful that we own a home.  However, it’s a fixer-upper, which we have been very slow-go to actually fix up.  So, if it burned -- well, let’s just say that losing the stress of the remodel wouldn’t break my heart.  But, it wasn’t just a shell of a house.  It’s our home, with a lifetime and a half worth of possessions (and really, I don’t need the lecture about how it’s just stuff and can be replaced.  Don’t lie -- if you lost your wallet, you’d be upset… and we’re talking about possibly losing and replacing EVERYTHING - just the thought makes me cringe).

We knew the fires were on both sides of us, and the one moving toward us was “moving fast”.  But we had no idea what that meant – did we have minutes, hours?

So, we loaded up the most important stuff.  Priceless items such as my mom's box of pictures-that I still haven't had the heart to work all the way through, btw-- and baby books went first (but not without checking first to see that my baby’s precious umbili-stump was still inside… gross, I know; but that’s a whole ‘nother story).  Next, we got all the precious gov’t paperwork that we need when we have to prove who we are… you know, so I’ll be prepared the next time someone accuses me of being Maria San Salvador because it is SO believable that this fair-skinned, blondeish haired, green-eyed American could possibly be from another country.  Maybe I could pass for Connie Souphanousinphone from Laos?? 

Anyway, where was I?  Oh, yes… Then, as I was grabbing scrapbooks out of the basket with our old yearbooks, my husband says to just grab it all - including the yearbooks.  I looked at the hubs and thought, really??  The goal is to forget the freckled-face nerd rebellion that was my unbelievably small high school graduating class of TEN, and you wouldn’t want to just let those things burn?  What’s the matter with you?  Were you really that popular in high school?  And then I laugh.  Because I actually knew him in high school… and well… it makes me laugh.

The digital camera and computer go next – too many pictures of our darling girl are on them (and the fact that they cost hundreds of dollars to replace doesn’t hurt).  But, anyway, they get shoved in a bag and drug out to the car through the smoky air. 

And then we pack a bag with a few shirts and a pair of pants for each of us.  As my brother and mother come to help us, I try to decide what to take for Natalie.  And how do you decide what to take for a baby when you can't take it all??  We were so fortunate to be given so many awesome baby gifts – toys, clothes, crib bedding, curtains, the beautiful crib itself.  It makes me cringe to think of losing them.  As I continued to look around, I saw the changing table/dresser that her daddy painted for her, and the hand stitched wall hanging that was made for her, and then… I start to feel my eyes fill with tears.  And I’m turning round and round in circles, looking at everything and I can’t figure out which heirlooms to save (the play dishes that are some of the only things that I have from my own childhood, the clothes that were handmade for Natalie, the quilt that was handmade for her daddy but is pink because they thought he was going to be a girl).  Instead of choosing, I grab what I can and I quickly grab the clothes that were on top as I tried to hold it together.

But, yes I broke down.  I cried.  Then, I realized that I could smell smoke coming in the window of Natalie’s room.  I freaked out, and then we got in the car. 

I immediately told Taylor that I didn’t want to leave the house.  I wanted to stay.  I wanted to know what was going to happen.  The forestry service had been called in, along with lots of firefighters (lots for this area, anyway).  They were going to get it stopped.  We should stay, stand our ground.  Then, Taylor talked to our neighbors who came to check on us, and they told him that their homestead had burned to the ground.

So, we went to my parents’ house.  We could still see the flames, but we were out of the path of destruction.   Out of the horrific wind’s angry path.  All we could do was message our friends and family as we watched the flames, like angry hands grabbing at the glowing horizon.  It was getting so late that it should have been pitch black outside.  But the glow.  I’ll never forget the glow. 

They were finally able to contain the fire.  And that meant that they saved a lot of homes, including ours.  So, for a brief moment last night I thanked God for saving our home.  But then my "sarcasmicatude" returned when we came home and I realized that the smoke smell was unbearable.  Airing out the house was useless.  Comforting my baby was hopeless.  I couldn’t even give her the blanket she loves to sleep with because of it’s reeky smoke smell.  So, what to do?  What’s left to do?  Lay my head on my smoky pillow and thank God that my pillow is still there to sleep on.  That my baby is still safe in the other room.  That things are okay. 

And I am.  I’m thankful.  But as I woke up this morning, I realized that one small part of me does want to be angry.  Angry that we flipped everything upside down and have to put it back.  I just know that it is the devil seeping in, and I have to fight hard to prevent that.  So, fight the hurt I did - and that led me back to the place where I remembered what’s important.

I think that this was a huge wake-up call from God.  The hubs and I have been praying for a sign that we’re doing the right things with his career and the other big changes happening in our lives.  I don’t think that for us there could be a more significant mirrored sign:   Our lives will potentially be flipped upside down by the changes that are to come.  But rather than be upset that we flipped it upside down, we need to be thankful that everything will still be here to put back into place when things do settle down.  It may feel as though there is a fire bearing down on us with all these changes, but we need to trust God with our path just as we trusted those fighting the fire to save our home.

Or something else witty and thought-provoking instead.  

Happy flippin’ February, Everybody! 
Natalie is 3 months old!!

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