"Never take ordinary days for granted," I once read somewhere. "When you look back, those will be the days you will miss most."
I realise the full meaning of that sentence only now.
Exactly 15 days before I wrote this post, I fled from home, jumping on to a rescue boat from my first floor balcony. With a backpack with a change of clothes and other immediate essentials. (My son's bag had a few comics and his sketching kit.)
The boat bobbed a few feet above my husband's SUV. Once we jumped in, we zipped and zoomed against the flowing current for the scariest eight minutes of my life.
A few hours of restless waiting followed as we waited in the rain in somebody's garage for the boat to bring my husband and sister-in-law.
I suddenly miss my morning cuppa, the bustle of breakfast and subsequent school runs, my bed, my favourite mug, my TV shows... Oh so many small things I took for granted.
I am one of the luckier few. Water did not enter my floor. Some thieves did, a few days later, but thankfully they didn't take much.
Except for the loss of our cars and the locks on the front door, my family didn't lose much compared to my ground floor neighbours.
They lost everything, but for some valuables they managed to save in a hurry, as the water level rose inside their homes.
My friend in the next building had just enough time to carry her dogs and cats to the safety of a floor above -- she couldn't even think of her valuables.
We've also been luckier because we had somewhere to go.
Perhaps this was a wake-up call to all.
Things can indeed change in a flash.
Homes can go under water.
Prized possessions can be washed away.
As can dear ones.
Your whole life can turn upside down in a matter of hours.
Though I know my home isn't damaged and I can go back the minute power is restored and my street is clear of debris and damaged cars, a feeling of displacement is difficult to shake off.
A wave of homesickness washes over me when I least expect it.
I suddenly miss my morning cuppa with the day's crossword, the bustle of breakfast and subsequent school runs, the mid-morning tea breaks when I have the whole house to myself, my bed, my favourite mug, baking the weekly bread, my TV shows, driving alone with my favourite song blaring...
Oh so many small things I took for granted.
If I can feel so much sadness for being away from home for a few weeks, I shudder to think of those who have lost their homes forever.
They will have to start anew. Build new lives. Create new routines. Make fresh memories.
Meanwhile, I will wait it out. Hold my breath a bit longer. Pause my regular life.
Until I can go back home.
To savour my ordinary days.
Also see on HuffPost: