I called the boys the next morning, their time, which was about 3:00 p.m. my time. I tried to avoid calling to early. I wanted them to sleep. The worst I hoped, was behind them.
When I finally did call, I was able to get through on the land-line. The kids both woke up antsy. Wyatt hadn’t heard from his (not) girlfriend who was on a field trip with the school band. He called her phone repeatedly, but couldn’t get through. Nolan, who is a little high strung anyway, was pacing the room. I myself, was still a bit shaken from what I had seen on the news. The full gravity of the initial reports were starting to sink in.
It’s hard to be away from your kids who are stuck in a situation that is completely out of your control. But for the moment, I did what I would have done if I were there.
“You know what would make mom feel better?” I asked Nolan.
“I’d like you to make a survival pack with everything you would need to survive for a day or two, like we do on the Playa.”
My kids have been attending Burning Man since they were 8 and 5 years old. They know how to survive in extreme conditions. I gave them a quick list of what we normally carry: water, electrolytes, enough snacks for 24 hours, something warm to wear, bandanna, hat, flashlight, multi-tool, etc.
My husband made a trip to the commissary to get a few essentials that they didn’t have on hand, and each of the boys assembled their own pack. It made us all feel better knowing if they needed to, that they could grab it and go. It also reminded them that they have skills for stuff like this.
The rest of the day (for them) was spent at home. I did some work and then went out with a friend for drinks at a local tavern. Wyatt finally heard from his friend after several tense hours and dozens of calls to her mobile phone. She and the rest of the band members were on the bus working their way back through Tokyo traffic.
It wasn’t yet clear what would happen next, but for the moment I knew my family was safe, and for the moment that was enough.