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Friday, January 22, 2010

Chasing Tornadoes

photo by Michael Mercier, Huntsville Times Photographer

A tornado touched down in Huntsville last night.

Growing up in this part of the country, you become accustomed to tornado watches and warnings.

But the most amazing thing happened last night.

We were watching Channel 19's coverage and the station's camera on top of the Saturn V Rocket got video of the tornado as it was moving through our city. Chris and I sat in our living room and actually watched the tornado spinning and moving through Huntsville. It was surreal.

As all of this unfolded, I looked at Chris and said, "Can you imagine how miserable I would be..."

He nodded, because he knew exactly what I was going to say.

"...if I was at the station right now while my kids were here?"

When I was a TV reporter, I loved covering storms. Six weeks into my first job at WMBB in Panama City, Florida, I covered Hurricane Opal. The category five hurricane devestated the Panhandle. This is the famous hurricane where Dan Rather was reporting while holding on to a palm tree about to be swept away by the winds.

When I moved to Huntsville, tornados were the storms of choice. At the first hint of a tornado, I would jump into a news car with a photographer and hit the road looking for it.

I was never afraid. It was just something you did as a news reporter. Maybe the adrenaline rush helped us ignore the danger that we driving towards.

I first noticed something was changing inside me shortly after Ann Catherine was born. I was back at work and it was the first tornado warning we had had since I had returned. Instead of wanting to drive into the storm, I wanted to drive straight home and hold my baby.

Storm chasing had lost it's luster. I was a mommy now.

As we watched the television coverage last night (luckily we were not in the path of the storm), I looked at my children who were playing on the floor next to me. The only hint they had of something wrong was when our sirens went off and LB came running out of AC's room saying, "There's a loud beep in Sissy's room!"

Since I left Channel 19, I've hunkered down in my closet quite a few times with my family. Like a mother hen, I can put my wings around both of my children and know they are safe.

How do I know?

Because I am with them. I can look straight into their eyes and hold them close to me. Because I am here.

Right where I'm supposed to be.


"Allie Play" said...

I, on the other hand, hated storm chasing. I can remember crying when I had to go out one day when severe weather hit. That part of the job is not missed!!! But, there are many parts of the job I do miss...:)

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

I was the same way about traveling. I would up and go anywhere- and WOULD! I loved it! Now you couldn't drag me away for work! ha! Personal travel- of course- but I know exactly what you mean.
And we saw it develop live, too! It was like a movie!!
Jason's boss/ work wife, Ken was the one with the live video that 19 interviewed. We've laughed at him all day because he said it sounded like a train! haha!
AND... I was in Opal in Dothan! That one was a doozy!