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Grandparenting through Irma

Reprinted from by Lorri Antosz Benson

It’s one thing to go through a hurricane as a Mother Lion- watching over your cubs and making decisions based on reason and percentages and forecast cones. Now comes the weird part- I’m NOT going to say “it’s quite another thing … .” It was actually a very similar thing to be a grandparent, sitting 3000 miles away, watching your child and her family face this monster called Irma.

We couldn’t seem to tear ourselves away from the screens; facts and data overtook our brains, and turned us into VERY amateur meteorologists who thought we could rival the Weather Channel in predicting the randomness of Mother Nature’s most excruciatingly protracted weapon. Five days of watching the full force of history’s most dangerous storm as it inched toward your loved ones was quite enough for us.

Sunday, even though we had perfectly reasonable plans to go sailing, we had to cancel. We felt like we had to be in our positions, ready to text information to our peeps who had lost power. We actually felt like we had to “be with them” as the eyewall inched closer towards them, and somehow mentally and perhaps spiritually help Irma weaken and even turn a bit to avoid a direct hit. This is grand-parenting long distance … parenting too. We just knew that we wouldn’t enjoy a day out on the water knowing what was happening across the continent as another event on water made it’s landfall heading towards our kids.

Our daughter and her husband did a great job analyzing the situation, protecting their home and family, making the best decisions they could under difficult circumstances. It brought back memories of us, her Lion father and mother, doing the same thing not that many years ago when we faced down hurricanes that threatened us and our family. And scary as they were, they weren’t “nuclear,” record-breaking, historic storms of the century.

We learned a while back that our biggest job was to let our kids go be adults, make their own decisions, live their own lives. That lesson was tested when Irma came to town, and we felt a helplessness like never before. But we realize that especially now with adult children, and now that there’s grand nuggets, and another on the way, we may not be in charge, but we still are all family, and families stick together, even from across the country.

Now that the rebuilding and clean-up has started, I see that our scenario played out all over the country, as families drew together emotionally if not physically, and supported each other through the disastrous Irma’s progress. Families … supporting, going to drastic measures to be in contact, housing evacuees and now helping with the aftermath … that’s what it’s all about. And families helping other families. Take that Irma- you gave it your best shot, and it united us. Now that’s human nature!

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