Television pales by comparison to our real life

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"Saved by the alarm," we all laughed. We talked about it for a while and then went to bed, ready for a good night's sleep.

At 3:30 a.m. something woke me up.

A sound.

No. An unbelievable sound. A sound like I’ve never heard before. A really, really scary sound. The sound of a train flying around my building at breakneck speed.

“Mommy!” I wanted to shout. Then I remembered that I was the mommy and I huddled under the covers, waiting for the kids to come running into my bed and promising myself it was almost for sure okay.

As I lay trembling, the wind blew with a monstrous whisper, mounting until it was screaming with all its force around the three windowed sides of the bedroom. Why had I taken this apartment in the first place, I wondered, listening to the gargantuan moan. There were lots of ways to get a great view of the city. Fall out an airplane, for instance. And it might be safer.

Oh my God, I thought, as the wind picked up more. I got up and ran into my kids’ room. They were still sleeping.

Apparently, in the face of the 120K winds, even my four-year-old with the sensitive ears, felt utterly secure. He was snuggled into the bottom bunk of the cozy wooden bed with his infuriating and beloved brother snuggled into the bunk above him.

I, on the other hand, was becoming convinced it almost for sure wasn't okay.

I saw the light on in the kitchen and went to see my New Jersey/Cortes friend fortifying the kitchen windows with bath towels. The pressure exerted on the windows of the aging condominium was causing water to seep in.

She informed me that the wind was extinguishing the gas fire, and I went out into the living room to see the gas fire blazing back up, only to be extinguished by the wind, blazing back up, and being blotted out again.

“Can you believe they’re still sleeping?”

She shook her head.

We paced around the apartment. It felt like very bad judgement to have taken an apartment fifteen stories off the ground.

Only yesterday it had seemed brilliant. The views! The light! Now I was in danger of the wind blowing the window panes to pieces and glass flying into the apartment, slicing me in half.


It was a marvel that my son would run out of a theatre in terror of the commercials, but could sleep soundly through twenty mintutes of a fire alarm and then a virtual hurricane.

My four-year-old apparently has an innate sense of what is good for him and what isn’t, where he feels safe, and where he doesn't.

Or was he just a clueless child dependent on the good judgment of the adults around him? I wondered, checking once again to see both boys sleeping with angelic expressions, while I surrounded the building in a flood of white light that I imagine could have been seen from here to New York City.

It's a handy incantation, I find, that flaky bit of woo woo and I held onto it tightly as the line between almost-for-sure and almost not for sure continued to blur with the roar of the wind.

The storm raged on, and as it did, I sat in front of the fire with my duvet wrapped around me. I watched the fire. It flickered and went out, then flickered up again.

I congratulated myself. I find it's important to step back every now and then as a parent and shake one's own hand. You deserve a huge Christmas bonus, I told myself, as a blast of wind put out the fire. For courage.

I was shivering, but you can't be brave, if you aren't also afraid, I reminded myself. And while I was giving myself bonuses, I might as well give out an award, I thought, and I decided to honour myself with a gold medal for parental honesty.

I had at least told the kids the truth: life in our home really is exciting enough to make TV pale by comparison.


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