A few weeks ago we had some major storms roll through our area. When a tornado touched down and tore through a town about thirty miles away, it was time to think about taking shelter. Unfortunately, we don't have a basement, or an interior bathroom, so the best we could come up with was to haul one of the boys' mattresses into our central hallway to provide us with some protection. Thankfully, our hallway is very wide and we were able to prop the full-size mattress up on some chairs to give us a little more hunkering room.
As you can probably guess, we were not hit by any tornadoes. The worst of the weather for us was an enormous amount of rainfall, which created rushing rivers all over our property and left behind many gullies as proof.
What was really interesting about the experience was how each of the boys reacted to the possibility of a tornado hitting our house. There never was a point at which I felt doom was impending. I brought the mattress out purely as a precaution and because it seemed better to have it already in place than to try to wrestle it into position at the last minute. I never even told the boys to get under the mattress, however its presence in the hallway was enough to put the boys into survival mode. They each gathered what was important to them and headed for cover.
Michael's reaction was by far the most immediate and visceral. He quickly grabbed his most precious possessions: his stuffed elephant named, "elephant"; Curtis' Tim Raines signed baseball ("Dad would want me to save this"); our dog, Jethro, and my in-laws dog, Shelby, who we were dog-sitting; and his iPod. He also had his headlamp and his book, but that was purely to pass the time. He took all his treasures under the mattress with him as soon as it was put in place and refused to come out until the "all clear" was sounded.
King, on the other hand. methodically gathered his things and put them in a backpack. He was so calm and quiet about it that I didn't even realize what he was doing until he pushed his bulky load into the center of our mattress fort. I was not yet under the mattress, as there was no immediate danger, but I could see that with the two boys, the two dogs, and one huge backback there was no room left for me. From the size of King's pack, I assumed that he anticipated being under the mattress for a significant period of time and had packed a sufficient amount of supplies with which to occupy himself. I got a clue as to my error by the look on his face when I asked him to move his backpack out from under the mattress, but still within his reach, so that more living things could fit, if needed. It turned out that his backpack had his one precious item in it: his laptop computer. The bulk came from the fact that he had encased his computer in a backpack within a backpack. Additionally, like Mike, King had thought of what others might want to be saved and he had put my laptop under the cushion of the recliner in the family room. He also had his ipod in his pocket.
I thank the Lord for keeping us safe on that day and that none of us nor our possessions were ever in danger. I am also thankful for having the opportunity to notice and appreciate the things that make my boys the unique individuals that they are.