It’s tornado season in Texas and much of the United States. Growing up in the midwest, we had many tornado drills and safety talks about what is needed in your shelter if one touches down near you. The possibility of a tornado always scared me. I have been through thousands of alerts and sirens, as many in the US have. These were never “what if” scenarios but “when,” and we knew the destruction was ruthless and didn’t discriminate on race, age, or income. I grew out of my fear for many years and became one of the crazy people that would run to look at the sky to see if I could see it myself. And when you felt that eerie calm in the storm before it would hit, the stillness then the loud noise of the tornado coming through, you duck inside. After having the twins, my storm anxiety came back. They’re so small, so fragile. Unlike my home as a child in the midwest, our homes in Texas don’t have a basement. So the safest place for us to go is across the street, where our kind neighbor has a large storm shelter he said we could share. But this means we have “go” bags packed by the door to grab on our way out with a change of clothes, water, leashes, and shoes. Whenever we have tornado weather, I stay up until it passes. Terrified, I won’t hear the siren or phone alert. Fearful that I won’t make it to the kids in time to grab them and run in the storm across the street to safety. As I watch the weather for today and tomorrow, we have more strong storms coming through. Four weeks in a row of tornado weather…I can’t help but think of my friends in Ukraine. They grew up with russia as a neighbor…I think of the mothers, with their go bags, those who have to run for the bomb shelters…pleading that the strikes miss them as they carry their children to safety. Like the tornados, the russian bombs do not discriminate; they hit everything, nothing and no one is safe. For over a month now, Ukrainians hear that siren that sounds a lot like our tornado siren every day. Like us, when they hear it, they run for shelter. The difference? A tornado is a season, it is an act of nature, and we know it will pass. For them, this is done by an evil “man.” A “man” thirsty for power who is waging a senseless war that he can choose to stop at any time. Yes, we have had four weeks of tornados…that last a couple of days at a time…it’s real. It’s scary. How much more is it for those in Ukraine?
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