Let’s face it Louisiana, it’s been a tough week.
Scratch that. It’s been a tough month.
From police shootings to protests and now watching the floodwaters rise and fall while waiting to see which neighborhood the river will consume next has sent my emotions racing across the spectrum as my heart breaks for my fellow Louisianians.
And I’m a grown-up.
As difficult as recent events have been to process for my thirty-something brain, what can our children in South Louisiana be feeling while their carefully constructed worlds seemingly crumble, nay, flood all around them?
As a mother, explaining recent statewide events to my two young children is something I felt was important, not to burden their innocence with the disasters of the world, but to help them understand that no matter their age they can help make a difference for those that have experienced loss and displacement after these floods.
They can repay the kindness and strength so many lent to our children in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
To the children of the floods, I see you. I see the loss and confusion in your eyes, wondering why in a matter of a few hours you went from sleeping in your comfortable bed surrounded by your favorite things to laying next to your parents and siblings, surrounded by strangers, in a makeshift bed with blankets and pillows from people you may never meet.
To the children of the floods, I hear you. I hear your cries as you wait for rescue on your rooftop while looking around a neighborhood that all at once is so recognizable but now indistinguishable as you try to understand that underneath the flood waters remains the houses and lawns and streets that you know so well.
To the children of the floods, I feel you. I feel your sense of displacement as you wonder when you can return to school and the friends that you know. Wonder when your life will be “normal” again, wonder whether you will go home again.
To the children of the floods, we are here for you. Because whether or not you know it, you are now a survivor. And you are not alone.
Just like we were picked up, dusted off and rebuilt here in New Orleans, we will do the same for you and your families sweet children.
Your life may not look the same as it did before, but I can promise you that we will walk with you as you learn to grow and thrive in your “new normal.” And you will thrive, because what makes you a survivor now is your strength and resilience in the face of disaster and darkness.
You may stumble a bit along the way, and that’s okay too. A favorite teddy bear or princess dress that was washed away are things to cry over because they were important to you and your life before the floods. But along with new teddy bears and princess dresses, we will also give you hope and promise for a new future where you are stronger for having survived this.
To the children of the floods, we are in this together. We are all survivors.