In the book Terri & I are writing there is the part when I was 16 & pregnant with her. On this day, June 6, 1966 my brother, Larry, & I had cleaned the whole house. Everything was in its place, floors clean, furniture dusted, dishes done, all neat and tidy. It was windy and raining hard and there were tornado warning – but hey – this was Kansas. There are always tornado warnings. So we ignored them and kept cleaning. I don’t remember hearing any sirens.
My mom suddenly burst through the front door, drenched from dashing 20 feet from her car to the front door. The look on her face was alarming and frantic.
“Hurry! Get under the bed!” as she herded us like a mother hen. “There’s a tornado on the ground! Hurry!”
Well, for once we didn’t ask questions or argue. We ran. Larry lifted up one end of the roll-away bed and mom and I crawled under. Larry dropped the end and dove under the bed with us. Within seconds the tornado was all around us, freight train loud and even more destructive. There wasn’t time to be afraid. The only thought I had was, “Sure. We just got the house cleaned and now this.”
It was all over in 15-20 seconds. When the air was finally eerily still, we crawled out of our shelter. I pulled a small shard of glass out of the back of my mom’s bleeding ankle. We told her we were okay but evidently we were not officially okay until she declared it to be so. Since the only blood was hers and we had no broken bones sticking out, she declared us to be fine.
We went outside and saw the destruction…. Over time we dealt with the aftermath of the tornado.
Here’s the thing: I didn’t see it until I was writing about this for the book. My mom risked her life to get to us when she knew we didn’t have enough sense to find shelter. She raced into the path of that tornado to find us when we were so young and dumb. A few seconds later and we would have been orphans, if we had survived at all. The risk of her life to save us was worth it to her. Nothing could stop her.
Moms do the most reckless, courageous things, acting against all odds, determined to affect circumstances that are completely beyond their control.
Kudos to amazing moms everywhere.
Mom, I’m sorry I was such a dunce. Thank you for laying down your life everyday to raise us. Thank you for protecting us when we were clueless. I love you. I miss you.
I’ll see you in glory one day and tell you this face to face.
- On Being Divided
- He Calls Me Redeemed