We have this weather alert function on our TV. Even when it's off, if there's a weather watch or warning the thing turns on this siren that would wake Rip Van Winkle!
Here in Missouri, we are approaching Tornado Season. This is the time of year where we sharpen our running-to-the-basement skills and scan the skies for signs of low-hanging clouds. It is also the time of year my kids freak out most. Well...except in the middle of summer when all the bees are out. (Thank you to the church activity last August where Professor and Lion got stung by angry bees. Lion, my stung-on-the-bum former nature boy, never wants to play anywhere near a flying bug again.)
A few days ago our ear-splitting TV siren went off. I turned on the tube, and there was a tornado warning scrolling on the bottom of the screen. The kids started going nuts. I began telling them that there was no need to worry unless we heard a siren from outside. Professor looked at me strangely while I was talking, and as I stopped talking, I heard it--the outside siren. Thankfully, I have always been levelheaded in emergencies.
"Ok, everyone! Take Romeo (our dog) downstairs. I'll be down with Bean in a minute." The kids wasted no time in hurrying to the basement.
The siren stopped shortly before I called James at work to let him know to take cover.
His co-worker hopped online to check it all out. Turns out, it was only a test. Our TV alarm was wrong about the tornado, but we were under a flood warning. The test is usually not performed in the middle of the month, usually only in the first week. A flood warning isn't the best time to check the alert system, I think! I wasn't worried since we live on higher ground, away from any large bodies of water.
After I hung up the phone, I realized that the kids were still downstairs. Since we usually come upstairs when the siren is gone, I figured I'd leave them down there and give myself some quiet time. After all, most of their toys are kept in the basement family room. I heard them playing, banging really loudly after a while, but there was nothing they could be damaging enough to make me want to go down there. I had the slightest inkling I should check, but if it was anything really bad I knew I could depend on one of them to tattle. My kids haven't learned the art of banding together to get into trouble--they'd all rather tell on each other.
After at least an hour, maybe two, I saw Professor's head pop up in the garage window. (You have to go through the garage to get to the basement. It's weird.) He popped down again really quickly. A minute or two later, my troops piled into the living room.
Lion and Princess burst out "We thought you and Bean were sucked away by the tornado, and we were crying!" Professor, in his pragmatic way, declared "I decided I would miss you most because you take care of us!"
I was puzzled. "What was all that banging, then?"
"We figured if we made enough noise you would come down and check on us. When you didn't, we thought you were gone!" Professor said.
Awww. I comforted my poor, abandoned children the best I could.
Obviously, I felt really bad and like a terrible mom for enjoying the quiet for so long. I didn't regret it completely though, because I desperately needed some silence! I admit to thoroughly enjoying that quiet time. I love my kids and they're fun to be with, but I do need a break now and then. However, when I think of my babies being sad that Mommy and their baby brother were sucked up "Wizard of Oz" style it does leave a pang in my soul. I'm not that heartless.
So there you have it--another soul-scarring event. Maybe I should start keeping record of all of them. Then, when the kids are grown, I can email them a full history to take to their therapists.