Friday, June 12, 2015


I am a born and bred, tried and true California girl, and I love a good earthquake.  Now mind you I am not talking about an 8 point anything, nor have I ever experienced much more destruction than a trinket falling off a shelf or a framed photo cascading down the wall, so let's be clear, my love is relative.  I like I nice 5.2 or so that's close enough to feel, maybe give me a few giggles and brings the panicked craze out on my Facebook feed with the great debate between the fellow earthquake lovers like myself and my less adventurous friends who prefer the earth not move... at least not in the literal sense.

I like to stand on the "I'll take an earthquake any day" argument over the folks who I know who live in hurricane or tornado country who think I am a little cray cray for not only living in California, but actually liking an earthquake here and there, and I definitely get bummed when we have one and I somehow manage to miss it (perhaps I should move to the La Habra area.)  I like the quakes and I like their surrounding "shocks" both after and fore.  Bring me a literal foundation shaker and I am a happy girl.

However, I find myself feeling the rattle and shake of a figurative foreshock, and I am having a much harder time with it.  It feels like the foundation of our little family is up for some serious movement, and I am a little taken aback by how much harder it is for me than I anticipated.

I remember the first literal earthquake we had with the little kids.  I was sitting in my living room under the front window-- a place I tend to be a lot when the earth starts to move.  The glass always rattles first, and because we live right near the train tracks it takes me a few seconds to discern whether the train is just passing by or if the whole earth is moving.  This particular quake came in the middle of the day, and the kids were each playing separately in their rooms.  It was an instant a-ha moment as I could tell it was no train and I realized neither of my littles had ever experienced a quake-- and this was a good one, and by "good" I mean a real rocker.

So, having seen a lot of earthquake damage photos in my day, I am not a big subscriber to the "stand in the doorway" mantra I was raised with. I mean, how many door ways have you seen remain standing in the rubble? So on this particular day I jumped up and ran into the hallway screaming, "Don't panic, come out to me now!" And two little faces with giant eyes came running out with their big brother the fellow quake lover following right behind.  I grabbed the younger kids hands (I'd say they were somewhere around 4 at the time) and we ran out into the street (you know, out where all the electrical wires are.)  As Jacob and I laughed and giggled out in the middle of the street, Ethan got caught up in the "fun" of it, and I hugged and comforted Tori who looked a little more concerned. Then I had to explain to them what an earthquake was, and warn them about aftershocks as they had finally been fully initiated into their California residency (it had been a quiet four years.)

Those hurricane and tornado folk always declare they are better equipped with the warnings that come with their storms in their necks of the woods.  My mindset has always been that warnings are overrated, the anxiety of anticipation was a bigger negative to me than the positive opportunity to plan and prepare.  I always said IF (or when) THE big quake comes that might break California off into the ocean (I mean, how bad could more beach front property be?), if it comes, I would rather just ride it out.

So now, I am looking ahead and I feel those figurative foreshocks. The big shift is coming, and I am still not a fan of the anticipation of imagining what the new topography might look like. My oldest son is moving to Virginia for the next four years (if all goes as planned) and my younger son is going to be going to high school, and without his little sister around for the first time since he was in the kindergarten.  Our exceptionally tight knit little family is spreading out and dividing up, and as I feel the shift and motion, it's the first time in my life I find myself NOT a fan of an earthquake.  I kinda get the fear of my less adventurous friends.

I'm a realist-- I know these changes could and likely will have a ripple effect.  I acknowledge that we are NOT talking tragedy here, but Jacob might never come back to California on a permanent basis.  His future bride, his future calling, his future life could be in Virginia, or he could be called back to Guatemala from there, or "topography" I can't even imagine might be up ahead.  Ethan said to me, "Jacob will be gone for my whole high school experience," and that's very likely - these current roommates may be like strangers at the end of four years, lots of changes happen in both their ages and stages.  Tori feels a little left behind by both her brothers, and I don't know how being separated most of the day for a year will affect the relationship of my younger two (though I am hoping for the best.)

I am having a harder time with Ethan moving on to high school, for a number of reasons, but mostly because having Jacob already journeyed well into adulthood, I am very mindful of how fast these next four years will go.  Last night I watched Ethan graduate middle school and I am very aware that if I blink too quickly, we will be at Toria's graduation next... and in four years we will have another high school graduation and likely a college one as well.

I still don't find myself wishing I lived in tornado or hurricane country, literally or figuratively, but I do find the idea of the stable and unchanging a bit winsome.  I no longer wish I could freeze time, but if I could rewind I would.  Someone told me a long time, much earlier on in my motherhood that "the days are long, but the years are short."  But just like the moms I find myself admonishing with that deep word of wise truth, I didn't really listen, and I didn't really believe them.  But now I do.

Change is inevitable (and I suppose it must be a good thing since God is such a big fan), and time is both a sprinter and a marathon runner, but today I just find myself wishing I didn't have to keep up.  I'm gonna close my eyes for a minute and swallow back the tears rising in my throat because before I know it I am going to be the mother of three amazing grown-ups who'll won't believe how quickly time will run away from them... it'll sneak up on them too, just like an earthquake.