Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family in Japan - What happens next

I'm not entirely unfamiliar with crisis. I was a soldier for 9 years, and one thing you learn rather quickly is if you are unexpectedly recalled, turn on CNN to see where you are going. I can still remember the night they started bombing Baghdad in Operation Desert Storm. I was in training at Fort Harrison, Indiana, and all we could do was hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

That's a mantra for the military and their families. After 9/11, we did the same thing. I was admittedly was out of practice then. I allowed myself to develop a false sense of security when my husband wasn't immediately recalled from the Inactive Reserve. Just as I had convinced my self maybe it wouldn't happen, it did, and he was gone for 2 years.

There have been other crisis since then. Their dad is no longer on Active Duty, but a Department of Defense Civilian. It doesn't change much. We generally just go with it. But this one is a little different. Usually my kids are with me, and it's my job to maintain a sense of normal for them. When they ask questions, I always answer as truthfully as I can, and tell them, "sorry guys, this is just how we live."

But this time, it's my kids who are in danger.

In truth I know that the danger is subjective. They are currently about 150 miles from the failing power plant. At the moment, their air is good, they are well supplied, and surrounded by well trained, well equipped professionals. They are also among friends, kids their own age who have experienced some of the things they have, and are experiencing this crisis with them. I think it's important that they have peers.

But I also know that if there is a melt down, that they are at the mercy of the wind. While the radiation would surely dissipate before it reaches them, there is still a threat, and that leaves me very uneasy. But it's out of my control.

So what's next? One of two things: at present the President has authorized evacuations for dependents of US Personnel. I don't know if my kids are among those who are authorized. I suspect that they are. Their dad will likely have to stay. It's his job. I get it.

If the kids aren't evacuated then I'm on a plane late next week.

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