I’m blogging this week from Anchorage, Alaska. It’s 0 degrees here and the air is so cold that my nose hairs freeze inside my nostrils. Last December, the snow piles flanking my parents’ driveway towered over my 5-foot-5 frame. This year, the yard has a hard crust of snow only 1-inch deep; it’s just enough to capture the moose tracks and frame them for the missing bark on my mom’s tree.
I’ve made the trip from Eppley Airfield to Ted Stevens International Airport numerous times over the last seven years, but this was my first solo trip with both kids and no Daddy! I survived the seven hours of flying, two hour lay-over, one major toddler meltdown, and misplaced stroller at gate-check. I was never so happy to see my mom and dad waiting with smiles and open arms.
It always takes a few days to catch up on sleep from jet-lag and for my body to adjust to the short days with minimal sun, just skimming the horizon from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. You can imagine how well small children adjust to all of this when their bio-rhythms are like a hung-over contestant on ABC’s “Wipe-Out.”
Our second night resulted in a trip to the emergent care facility with my youngest. Diagnosis? Ear infection.
Prescription? Antibiotics from the only 24-hour pharmacy, across town, complete with a 45-minute wait in the frozen parking lot. Side effects? Uh… let’s just say I am changing a lot of diapers and have several pairs of pants to wash.
By Monday afternoon we had finally found our rhythm and were enjoying some family time at Oma and Opa’s house. Then at 4:45 p.m. a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rumbled from its center about 27 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Nolan was playing with his trains on the floor and Lily was “relieving” herself on the potty. Dad jumped up, grabbed Nolan and advised me to get Lily and go in a doorway. I bolted for the bathroom as the china hutch rattled the stemware and the vertical blinds danced in the windows.
Lily and I didn’t make it to a doorway because well, uh… she was in the middle of something. (Please forgive my references to bodily functions. Ahh, who are we kidding, parents talk about their kids’ poop all the time!) At any rate, I held on to her as the earth shook and then quivered to its resting state once more.
Thankfully, this earthquake did nothing more than just that, quake the earth. No damage has been reported and no one was injured.
But I was left pondering the parallels between seismic activity and everyday life. Aren’t our lives really just quakes interspersed with periods of calm?
We can be shaken by circumstances out of our control (ie: cancer, aging parents, sick children, loss of financial stability, etc.) We are frightened, uncertain of how it will end, and maybe left swaying in the aftershocks.
Eventually it does end. The Earth settles, finds a new equilibrium and stillness is restored.
During this holiday season, may you and yours find a period of peace despite the quakes shaking your lives.
Jessica Brashear is married with two children. Read her blogs here on momaha.
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