It has been a year since Hurricane Sandy. Ariel Chesler looks back on the storm and the birth of his daughter.
A year ago at this time we were huddled in our apartment waiting for Hurricane Sandy to hit New York. We had just arrived home from the hospital with my youngest daughter who was born a few minutes before midnight on October 27, 2012. We were fortunate that, due to the impending storm, the hospital allowed us to leave earlier than they normally would have.
The streets of Manhattan were as empty as they are on Christmas Day. But this time I did not experience the joy of having a city block to myself as I ran back and forth grabbing supplies and finishing errands. Rather, there was a quiet storm of fear that washed over me before Sandy actually did.
Store windows, including those of Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, were shuttered and boarded up as if those very grand and solid buildings that New Yorkers take for granted had suddenly been made fragile.
With the streets mostly empty of cars and people, and mass transit shuttered, it was as though we in New York were living through yet another scene from a Hollywood movie. This time my mind flashed to the images of an evacuated Manhattan and a severed Brooklyn Bridge from 2007’s I Am Legend. In reality, my in-laws had to rush home over the Brooklyn Bridge before its closure.
Back at home, my wife and I passed our own tiny storm back and forth between us as night fell and the rain began to lick our windows. And we watched the television footage that inevitably rolled in with the winds.
My daughter had arrived storm-like, forcing us to make a family trip to the hospital on that Saturday. We thought that my wife was merely experiencing a side pain that should be checked, but after a short time the contractions began. At first, my wife reported that she could not feel them, as if they were far from shore, but then their waves grew closer and stronger.
Suddenly, the storm was upon us. My wife’s heart rate skyrocketed and her breaths became incessant gusts. Her water broke like a wave displacing a piece of the ocean. All this as they tried to give her an epidural.
Then, mercifully, my daughter arrived, tiny and alert, hearing and knowing my voice, and ready to be in our calm embraces.
The day after the storm we were blessed to be far from the devastation, to have running water and electricity, and to be home with our little ones. In the following days, I ventured out with my older daughter, gathering supplies and dropping them off for donation to those left homeless by the hurricane. Others lined up to shop at Bloomingdale’s. A tale of two cities, indeed.
A year later, while still tiny compared to her big sister, my little daughter has grown in size and in other immeasurable ways. And she’s finally allowing us some sleep.
Parenthood, like a storm, is a tale of survival, of lessons learned, and growth. I am glad to report that both we and New York City have survived, and are hopefully stronger for it.
Originally appeared at http://arielchesler.tumblr.com