It started Friday. Hubby leaves for work early in the morning, comes home mid-afternoon to grab the most random array of items (his bike, food, clothes, and all kinds of gear that I could not begin to tell you the correct names of.) and heads out for the weekend.
This weekend was the long-awaited Ozark Extreme Adventure Race. Doesn't this sound like something Clayton would partake in? It's a triathlon (biking, running, paddling) and this was Clayton's first year to try it. He and his great friend Stephen teamed up and, amazingly, they finished in FIRST PLACE in their division! (3rd place overall!) I thought Clayton was kidding when he said they came in first... I'm such a good supporter, right? Their times was something like 8 hours, 32 minutes... give or take a minute. 8 HOURS. There is little in the world I would be willing to participate in for 8 entire hours. Especially super intense physical activity. No thanks.
So, this awesome race meant Clayton was away all weekend.. which wouldn't be a huge deal except:
Dance recital weekend!
That's my Madison - the one in the middle
Thank God for mothers.. because mine saved me! She and my stepdad came into town in the morning to help me wrangle the boys, feed people, and get Madison beautiful and all of her massive amounts of costumes, shoes, snacks, ribbons, bows, and all things necessary together. With their help it all went off without a hitch. The boys were SO well behaved.. I was beaming with pride!
Madison did a super job. Dance is definitely her thing. We've tried sports.. and she is great at soccer, but nothing compares to dance for her. She is quite gifted, and I couldn't help but shed some tears as I watched her and her awesome class perform the most beautiful and FLAWLESS ballet dance I've ever seen. She is growing up on me. It's happening so fast. I watched the tiny little girls do their ballet, tap, and jazz moves and it took me back a few years. I remember Madison learning those cute little steps...
"shu-ffle, ball-change" (to a very slow count)
Now these girls are doing incredible moves! They REALLY tap now. They REALLY understand the importance of being high on their toes, being graceful and deliberate, and working together as a team. Beautiful! Yes, I am a proud mother.. I won't even try to hide it.
Let's rewind just a bit, though. Let me take you back to Saturday morning... BEFORE mom got here to save the day, before we began getting ready for recital.
Picture this: You've not slept at all that night because a big storm blew in. Your two boys came crying to your room and climbed into your bed. Being the only parent in the house, you are the only person that can try to ease their fears. They sleep peacefully with you.. but you can't sleep AT ALL because the two of them take turns kicking you, tossing, turning, sniffling... oh boy!
Finally, you all go to sleep. Then, your cell phone rings. You're so exhausted that it takes you several minutes to figure out it's literally right beside the bed.
"Mandy? Where are you?"
"Umm.. I"m home.. who is this?"
"It's Tricia (friend that dispatches at the police department) and you need to get you and the kids into a safe place. The National Weather Service just put out a tornado warning HEADING RIGHT TO YOUR HOUSE!!"
"What?! Okay... thank you!"
I nearly threw up I got so afraid so fast. I found that Carter and Madison were already up, and I yelled at them to "get your shoes on and get into the hallway NOW!!"
They did, and I threw a mattress over the top of them as I slid my shoes on and grabbed Sam (who was soundly sleeping in my bed) and my cell phone to join the kids in the hall. I reassured Madison that we were probably okay because it was raining really hard,and that everyone says that it gets still and quiet before a tornado hits. Within two seconds of me saying those words, the rain stopped... completely. Silence. I hugged the kids tightly to me, and just prayed and prayed. In my head I kept thinking "why does this stuff always happen when I'm here ALONE?!"
Within 30 seconds of the calmness outside, I hear a sound of rumbling high in the sky. "Is that thunder?" It got louder and louder.. and was steady. The wind was raging outside... and then... nothing again. Silent. Then, heavy, harsh rain. I finally took a breath and called Tricia back. She kept asking if she needed to send someone to come out here to get us.. but thankfully we were safe and it was over. Thank God for AMAZING friends!
There was no damage, that I know of, in our area. I definitely felt like we were right in the midst of something that could have easily turned tragic. I am so thankful! If anything, a tornado stayed in the sky and moved over and never touched down.
What a way to start crazy dance recital day.. right?
Thankfully my husband got home Sunday afternoon and I felt like my life came back together again. I'm pretty used to being alone with the kids.. but this was just a bit extreme. I told him that this coming weekend I'm leaving for 2.5 days and I'd be back before Monday morning. Yeah.. right.. as if I could really stay away!