Friday, March 14, 2008

"What if?"

Okay, so this is a very long story. I don't expect you to read it. I can't imagine you'd want to read about this, but really this is more for me. I won't be able to sleep until I write it. I can't believe I'm typing this before 5:00 a.m. But I've just had the most terrible nightmare and I know I won't be able to go back to sleep any time soon. So, I thought it might help if I vented about it, making you all suffer through my subconscious' antics until the wheels in my head and the beat of my heart can slow enough that I can go back to bed.

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In my dream, I was home with the boys. Brett was out somewhere with Halle. A heavy fist pounded upon my front door. When I went to answer it, it was a policeman or someone with authority (now that I'm awake I'm a little fuzzy on the details). Anyway, I was told that I had ten minutes to pack up my family and leave. That we were being transported somewhere else. Now where, exactly, I'm a little vague on. And whether or not this policeman was nice or not, I am also unsure. At some points of my dream I feared him and in other parts I just did what he told me to. Anyway, I felt so anxious, trying to keep my babies calm while I rushed around trying to decide how to pack all the things that were necessary for our survival, as well as the anguish of choosing which items I am emotionally tied to could fit inside our one bag (I was told I could take a purse and one bag. For the entire family.)

My mind was going a million miles a minute, with thoughts such as:

Don't forget the motrin, in case one of the children gets sick.

Do I have diapers and wipes? Enough to last who-knows-how-long? I wish I had cloth diapers in case it is indefinitely.

What about food? Will I need food or will that be provided for me?

I should take a game or book or small toy to help keep the boys happy. Maybe some crayons and paper?

I ought to get the 1st-Aid Kit out of the car. And some blankets.

Shhh...don't cry, baby. Mommy will pick you up in a second. Please don't cry.

Our scrapbooks! Our pictures! Our memories! Why didn't I put together a CD of our favorite pictures so all I'd have to grab was that!???

Money! Will I need money?

Where is Brett? How will I contact him? How will he know where I've gone? (For some reason I knew that where we were going I could not use cell phones.)

Thank heavens I bought this mini-Book of Mormon.

Where is our address book? I'll need to contact family.

When I finally thought I had the bag packed, the final thing I had to do was dress the boys. Wyatt just had on a t-shirt and underwear and socks, and Carson had on only his pj's and a diaper that desperately needed attention (sadly, this is not too far from reality some days at our house). I told the policeman I was almost ready, that I just had to change my boys. He shouts at me, you don't have time. You'll have to grab their clothes and change them when you get there! My stress level is sky-high because I'm feeling like in even everyday tasks, such as fully-clothing my children in pants and shoes, or a clean diaper, I have failed! And then this is when I wake up.

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I know this dream seems over-dramatic and you're probably thinking, "What brought this on?" (By the way, ask Brett...I frequently have very colorful, very angsty dreams.) Actually, I know what brought this on. It's a combination of two things. ONE, book I've been reading (see below) and TWO, a lot of discussion in my head lately about my desire to get our family prepared for an emergency.
As for the book, it is called Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy.

It's actually a children's book (for older children, obviously) that I bought at Halle's book fair. It fits in my glove compartment and whenever I am waiting in the car, like at the bus stop, I like to get it out and read a few pages. This powerful work relates the story of Syvia Perlmutter, one of only 12 Jewish children to survive the Lodz ghetto in Poland during WWII. I'd highly recommend it, although be aware of dreams that may follow. Because I know that is where my subconscious got the idea of a policeman coming to our home and giving us a short time of preparation to leave. That's what Syvia's family experienced before being led into "captivity" in the Jewish ghetto. They had to be very careful and thoughtful when choosing what valuable possessions they would take with them, because they were limited on luggage as well as time. In many ways, their family suffered even more unnecessarily because some vital items were left behind.

Of course, they weren't as blessed as we are in this new century.

I'm sure they didn't have the idea of a 72-hour kit. Or the idea of having your important documents scanned onto a CD that can be grabbed in a moment of panic. Can you imagine if they'd had the convenience and technology of things like "Lifepills", pills that claim they can sustain your life in a time of food-depravity. I couldn't help but think of what a situation like that would be like. Similar to the tragedies some experienced after Hurricane Katrina. To be a refugee. Having only yourself to turn to, really, in the care of your family.

Brett and I have been talking a lot about how this is the year. This is the year we are going to make our families prepared for an emergency. The task can be overwhelming...stocking a year's supply, even 6-months of food storage is a bit daunting and takes time and planning. Preparing your documents and papers so that everything is in order. Ensuring you have a good water supply, as well as backpacks or a 72-hour kit available to grab on the go.

This dream only hit home to me how sweet it's going to feel when the burden of "I need to get this done" is removed and I have the relief of knowing my family is ready for anything. I need to get our 72-hour kits done. I need to scan our important documents and save our favorite family pictures to a CD, so that even by packing just that one, I have preserved our visual memories. Brett and I need to designate a meeting place should we ever be separated. I told Brett that for my birthday in May I want a backpack like the one below.

It's done by LifeGear. I know I can make our own 72-hour kits, but this backpack is designed to hold so much and give complete protection, including shelter and blankets, for a family of four. Wouldn't it be great to have something like this in addition to 1 or 2 backpacks other family members could carry?

I am curious about your ideas. What kinds of things have you done to better prepare your family in the event of an emergency? Maybe you've done something I haven't thought of that I could implement in our own emergency-plan.


Tif said...

Wow! What a dream! My biggest fear is being home alone with three little kids and having a disaster that causes us to evacuate on foot. I can just imagine having to carry all the gear and kids and keep everyone calm and know how to survive and keep everyone content and comfortable while we wait for help to arrive. It's overwhelming and has kept me up at night too.

Because of that, being prepared is something that I have been working on for years. It can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once, not to mention break your budget. I recommend doing a little at a time.

We plan some money into our budget to purchase things like food storage and preparedness gear every year and make a large purchase and repack 72 hour kits once a year. We also use Christmas as an opportuity to ask for other items we need such as water storage, wheat grinder, etc. from our parents. We even gave the kids really nice sleeping bags one year for Christmas. They thought it was great and we were happy to know they have nice ones that will keep them warm in an emergency.

We still have room for improvement, but we have come a long ways. Keep working on it. The peace of mind to know you have done all you can to prepare is worth a lot!

Wonderland Pearls & Purses said...

I almost made it through the whole thing! *hugs* I love you.

Annie said...

What a scary dream! I need to do better at getting our family prepared in case of emergency. Thanks for the reminder!

Annie said...
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Heather said...

Hey Hope- Not that I have any great ideas, but just wanted to let you know the spirit must be working on you. The 5th Sunday lesson this month is on Emergency Preparedness. Brother Cambra is going to cover some of that stuff and I am going to cover how to get started on food storage in a managable fashion. So, let your mind rest and know that some additional help is on the way. I too have felt that pressure to get started recently and look forward to working on getting our family truly prepared.

KindaCrunchy said...

That's quite a dream! I would have been terrified as well. As for your cloth diaper thought, they are great :D If you ever want to learn more about them, feel free to stop by. This is Tami from the ward, btw.

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson