Since Hurricane Sandy, I’ve Had The Joy Of Parenting Without Solid Power

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Offers poured in throughout the week: texts from acquaintances who said we could plug in. To please stop by for dinner. A bag of candles and lanterns were delivered from a neighbor down the block. There were offers to wash dirty clothes. Another friend invited us to a “power out” party. People I hadn’t heard from in weeks and months checked in. It sounds hokey now, but the kindness of my friends were a lightness, lifting me out of a cold, crummy funk I couldn’t escape. When I did eventually plug in, and scrolled  through decrepit photos of the Jersey Shore—I found it was almost better to remain in the dark.

Once the cold set in on day five, we spent the weekend at a friend’s house. They were lovely. They warmed us with wine and hot food. But more, they warmed us with company. We talked politics. We sang songs from Annie. We drank a lot. My husband went back to work on Monday, suffering through a three-hour commute into New York City. (Typically it takes us 30 minutes door-to-door.)

The pinnacle of sharing is caring arrived when at the beginning of week two, a friend lent us his generator, 10 gallons of gas and 100 foot extension cords. Soon enough we were slaves to the generator. My world turned into long gas lines and five-gallon red containers. As the generator churned with all of its noisy, cranking power, I prayed that it wouldn’t poison us with carbon monoxide, or burn our fingers off. Oh, and, if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you’re having a panic attack (as I did) because your generator ran out of fuel in the middle of a blizzard (Hello nor’easter) then you should probably try to vomit away from the machine.

In the end, we were out of power for about 12 days although it still isn’t consistent. When it came back on, my daughter and I rejoiced—I swung her in a circle in our driveway and then carried her through the house singing Kanye West. All of the lights in here baby, extra bright I want you all to see this. I flicked on all the lights as I cried, knowing how many people were still in the dark. And then my daughter said: “It’s too bright, Mama. It makes my eyes hurt.”

(photo: Lisa F. Young/ Shutterstock)

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