It was unfortunate that I was not at home during the typhoon that damaged our house last week. My husband and the kids, together with a household help were alone during the time that they most needed me.
Stranded someplace else, I could only thank God for the wonders of mobile communication; that I was able to get in touch with them.I was able to get help for them. I was able to monitor them.
I heard how my husband's voice moved from panic into resignation. But I didnt know how the kids coped up during the time that they were witnessing the floodwater rising. I made sure that they were safe. Before I started saving the battery in my mobile phone by turning it off -- calling only every hour during the 15-hour that I was not with them. But I was only able to talk, once, with one of the girls.
When I got home, they were already sleeping; all three, in our bed. My husband woke up and told me he simply told the girls that this is just like a camping adventure; especially since they needed to cut off the electricity to prevent any accidents.
What happened was: the girls helped them to clear up at first; before they had to send the girls to the second floor because the floodwater was rising very fast. The girls witnessed the water flooding the steps going to the second floor; that was when both girls started screaming for their father, screaming for their mother.
Since my husband and our help, had to try to save some of our things; nobody came to them. And I wasnt there. Although my husband called up to them that they are somewhere around the house, the reassurance of a presence were missed by the girls. Although both of them eventually calmed down to play, I couldnt imagine what was running on their minds during those times of need.
It pained me when MC started crying bitterly, during breakfast the next day. She simply wont stop and she kept on saying over and over 'it is not good to stay here in the Philippines. I thought is is nice here. But I dont want to stay here anymore.' She kept on repeating the same phrase.
She was sobbing hysterically before we managed to calm her down.
I know it would take sometime before the girls would feel comfortable again everytime there's heavy rain.
But we tried to give them back their feeling of security, to reassure them by doing these things:
- By going out of the house. We decided to eat breakfast outside and leave the damaged house behind.
- By bringing them to a new environment. We also booked a hotel and told them we are going on a short vacation
- By giving them our extra attention. We didnt leave the hotel, instead, we spent the whole day just relaxing, just being together.
- By telling them something they want to hear. We told them we are going to look for a new house. They loved hearing that as they dont want to go back to the old one.- By asking their approval in choosing another house. They were proud that they are allowed to help decide on our 'new house.'
- By keeping them busy. Playing, homeworks, etc.
- By explaining to them what happened and that not every rain means the same amount of floodwaters.
- By giving them extra hugs and kisses.
Things are getting better. We found a house. We are enjoying our hotel vacation. Most of all, we are together.
I confess, I needed reassurance during this past week, too. And I got them from friends all over the world. You know who you are, thanks a lot!