Happy New Year!!!
Last year was a particularly busy one for us at Baby Bodyguards. It was our most successful year to date, but also the most tumultuous. The year for the most part was full of clients (some of the biggest celebrities on the planet), consultations, car seat installations, business meetings, franchise documents and then came October and ENTER SANDY…..
Being of a neurotic nature I had water, non-perishables, flashlights, D batteries (enough for us and our friends). The day the storm was to begin, we spent at a birthday party for a friend’s daughter. As our children painted pottery, the adults discussed whether we would evacuate and other precautions. We were all split, half of us were taking it very seriously , the other half thought of Irene in 2011 and scoffed. We always feel better safe then sorry.
The Baby Bodyguards headquarters was in Manhattan Beach Brooklyn. This is where I grew up and where most of our friends live. This is where my parents still live. For those who are not familiar, it is known as the Russian Riviera, consisting of beautiful waterfront homes, and a feeling of a private oasis in the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn. This is where our son goes to school, and until the end of October 2012, what I thought to be the safest part of NYC.
My parents evacuated to our home in Zone C and we made the final preparations at Baby Bodyguards. We stacked all our computers on desks, removed our hard drives and put them on a 7 ft shelf. Stacked all our inventory up high. We figured worse case scenario, we get a foot of water, which would be annoying, but not life changing. The last thing we did was set up a video baby monitor, so we could keep track of the flooding from our home a few miles away.
We spent the first 24 hours of the storm at our home pigging out on comfort food, watching TV, watching our monitor and hoping for the best. Then everything went dark. We played Crazy 8’s with our 5 year old, and read by lantern to our 2 year old. We bundled up to keep warm, and expected normalcy within a few hours. I watched my parents pace around understandably nervous that their home was now damaged. We spent the next day waiting for the clear to go outside, and when we got it, we ventured to Manhattan Beach.
Manhattan Beach on October 31st, was a scene from a nightmare. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Cars were piled on top of each other, glass was shattered everywhere. My favorite restaurants had tables and chairs floating in the street and their doors blown off. As I drove to the office, I saw children’s toys in the street, along with old pictures and memorabilia that can never be recovered. I passed so many friends and our Rabbi, everyone is a state of shock and despair. As I pulled up to the office, I could see our door had come off and our desks had floated to the street. We had sustained 8 feet of water. Our hard drive was gone off that 7 ft shelf. Interestingly enough the one thing that did make it was the Nutrigrain bars I snack on. For now on if there is an emergency coming that is what I will buy :). All our inventory gone, covered in sewage.
I then assessed my parents house. Same thing, 8 feet of water. I cried for about 3 minutes and then we had to take action. I called on some friends, we went to Home Depot, and gutted out the house and removed the debris. This was bad enough without my parents having to come home and throw away their possessions and deal with mold and the stench. For those not familiar with New Yorkers, we may not be the friendliest, but if a crisis goes down, New Yorkers can handle it with the best of them.
The really crazy thing is that while we were dealing with our losses and the gas shortage, the Baby Bodyguard’s phone kept ringing. Clients unaffected on the UES and UWS, couldn’t get their home’s baby proofed fast enough, and let us know that as soon as we were ready to get to them, they were ready for us. This calmed me down. I realized that in these conditions that I thought were hopeless, our business was still going to go on. It’s not a desk and a computer that make the business but the people , reputation and relationships that were developed.
It’s a new year and over 2 months have passed. Business is almost back to normal (from a temporary office), my parents are back in their home (the basement is still gutted and not fixed), but most importantly we are forever changed. If we weren’t faced by adversity every now and then, we would never know what we are really made of, and how blessed we truly are. It’s easy to be great during the good times, but it takes a certain kind a person to keep it together through the rough patches.
Over the last couple of months I would refer back to my favorite poem by Rudyard Kipling. It is also my dad’s favorite peom and when I was a little girl, he would tell me that it is “a poem to live by.”
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!