Monday, October 21, 2013

Wondering if you were right...

I often do not open up a lot about my family on here -- I stay pretty focused on the shop.  But, a little event the other day happened that is just too cute and too heartwarming not to share.

I picked my daughter (she often takes her leave shopping freely in the shop by the way -- which is a way I determine what designs will sell pretty well as she has fabulous taste.) up from school last week.   She often stays after because she has a deep need to do exceptionally well in school.  I can't blame her for that.

She told me a story about the earthquake drill they held at her school. But, before I get into that, a little back-story:  this is the first year in a long time that my youngest (special needs) has been in the same school as his older sister.  He is often in special classes for his behavior which is related to some fears he has that cause extreme anxiety in the poor little man.  But, this year those two are together.  And while my daughter is two years ahead of my son, they happen to share the same lunch period in middle school.

So, I am driving my daughter home from after school tutoring and she tells me about my son getting in trouble during the earthquake drill for wandering off.  Yes, I know it is wrong for him to wander off, but I ask her, since she also mentions that he got in trouble earlier in the year during a fire drill: "What did he do during the first drill?"

Because really, if you think that my youngest pretty much reacts to situations like he did before -- it will make sense to find out what was happening the first time he "wandered off."

Well, according to my daughter, my son went during the fire drill to find her -- and make sure she was safe.  Apparently in that moment he couldn't distinguish between whether the drill was real or not -- so he went to find her.

This is a big clue, I explained to my daughter -- when he got in trouble during the earthquake drill, he was probably going to find her.

This made her feel good, I know because she smiled and even though those two bicker probably more than normal siblings do -- in a moment of perceived emergency, my youngest went to find my middle child and stick together.

Flash forward to a conversation I was having with my dear friend who wondered if her kids would do that in an emergency.  And I came to the realization that the reason my kids were doing this in these moments is because it is learned behavior.   See, these kids of mine have been through some pretty harrowing events in their young lives.

When the oldest were very young, there was an earthquake up here -- and from that moment, they saw (though they probably don't remember as they were very young) how I react in an emergency:  There is nothing, absolutely nothing that will keep me from bringing my kids together with me in an emergency.

Then in 2009, my kids and I lived on Fort Hood, less than a mile from the shooting location.  My husband was away training some Army personnel and we were alone on base getting horrible information in the few hours after the shooting.  (That communication was horrifying -- I actually did a project on it in my communications class about how badly it was handled).  My youngest at the time almost didn't make it in the gate to get home that evening because of the timing of the shooting and the timing of shutting down post.  As it was, he was a good hour late.

And I remember my oldest asking me what I would have done if my youngest hadn't made it through the gate that afternoon.  My response was short, stoic and absolutely truthful:  I would have found a way to get to him even if I ended up in prison getting through the gate to him.

I think it's moments like those -- moments of no matter what kind of crisis, either drill for the future or real crisis, that made my youngest react the way he did.  He would do whatever it took to get to his sister and make sure everything was okay and stick with her until I got to them if it were something real.  I know that now -- and I know each of them would do it. 

They know there would be no holding me back to get everyone together to safety -- and they know when there is something bad happening at one of their schools that I am pinching myself waiting to hear if I need to be there.  I know to keep away from the schools during those lock-downs-- but I also know all three kids know that I am not far, and if they are in real danger, there is NOTHING on this earth that will keep me from bringing them together.

And so, it's not that odd to me that the youngest would work really hard to get together with his brother and sister.  Even if he is getting in trouble by "wandering off."  True, I had the conversation with him about being where he is supposed to be in these situations -- but I know he will have eyes on his sister from now on, even if he doesn't go find her.

It's an interesting moment to realize that of all the things they could have learned and had ingrained through the years that this is one that actually translated to firm action.
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