What If?

What if, right?
What if, right?

We had to do something really weird this week. Weird. And hard. And excruciating on our psyche.

But it had to be done.

Living in Southern California, there is always the “what if” conjectural of an earthquake. There’s also the potential of terrorism since Los Angeles is huge. And with two major airports – and three other large ones – not to mention the two largest shipping ports in the United States, all within an hour or less of a drive from our home, contingencies must be made.

Then there was this story. Seems ridiculous, right? Largely, yes … but what if?

We don’t live scared. That’s dumb. But we do live in reality.

Reality says you must be ready for things like earthquakes and terrorism and, yes, massive power outages that could last weeks.

So when our daycare facility asked for us to make an emergency kit for our daughter, we thought of the typical checklist.

Water. Food. Diapers. Clothes. Blanket.

Yet, that wasn’t enough. The checklist required a few more personal effects.

A picture of our family. OK, I get that.

A note to our daughter.

Do you realize how difficult that is to write? A potential “what if?” note to an almost one-year-old? A note that might stay at that facility for the next three years? A note that would be read by the daycare facilitators to try and comfort our daughter while mom and dad were walking in opposite directions to get to her on the side of the freeway?

It wasn’t so much the actual words. Honestly, between my wife and I, those came easily. Something to the tune of “We love you. Everything will be fine. We will see you as soon as we can. Love, Mom and Dad.” (Yes, it was a little sweeter and longer and heartfelt than that, but that was the idea.)

The mere fact that we had to write that – nay, that we had to imagine that scenario – was terrifying. That disaster might strike and a parent won’t be able to immediately hang on to their child is something no one should have to experience. And here we were, faced with that possibility as we wrote that note and added it, the last item, to the bag.

Maybe we went through it too fast, viewing the creation of the kit like taking out the garbage – as a necessary chore. Maybe we were both too frightened by the possibilities to express our true thoughts on it. Maybe we just wanted to put it together and zip up the bag, like a cadaver – out of sight, out of mind.

Truthfully, though, we were just hoping it would never see the light of day.

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