What an eventful night we had last night. Around 9:45pm, a line of storms started moving in, and within 15 minutes the thunder was so loud that both of my kids were awake. As usual during this type of weather, they ended up in bed with me. The difference was that this time, I had the idea to show my older child the weather report and radar to explain a little more about the weather. I didn't even have to turn to the all-day weather forecast - our favorite local station was already on with news about thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. Just a few minutes later, there was rotation in the atmosphere indicative of a possible tornado - about 5 miles from our house. The forecasters were warning us to get into the lower lever of 2-story homes, into a small room or closet with no windows. They did not have to ask me twice. Downstairs we went, and I sat the children nearby as I emptied the floor of our closet under the stairs. My husband gathered some pillows and a comforter, then helped me finish cleaning out the closet. The kids and I went inside while he listened to a bit more of the weather report.
It's quite interesting to sit in a small, un-air conditioned space with 2 preschoolers who are up in the middle of the night. My son wanted to ask LOTS of questions (really not that different from any other time) and my daughter just didn't want to sit still. My kids started playing (um, fighting over) the flashlight until we started making shadow animals. They were quite entertained - and even tried to make their own, but they just aren't quite coordinated enough.
Another interesting thing? What crossed my mind as I considered what to take into the closet just in case things got really bad. Aside from the kids, I grabbed my purse (which is where I keep my camera, insurance cards, keys, and cell phone) and the external hard drive that's my photo backup. My husband grabbed his wallet and keys. Not much else mattered at that point. I realized how little the "stuff" of life actually means, and how replaceable many things really are.
As it turns out, several homes in our town and one nearby received significant damage. We were quite lucky, both that we had no damage, and that the kids quietly went to bed 2 hours later and slept through until morning.