Around 3:57am, I shuffled to my son’s room where he was crying softly. I lifted all twenty pounds of him into my arms and settled into the arm chair by the window to feed him. I rested my head on the back of the chair and closed my eyes. Suddenly something slammed against our house (or so it seemed). My chair rumbled beneath me. I sat up and realized that my entire house was shaking. The pull chain on my son’s lamp was rattling and I could feel the reverberations in my feet. It lasted all of three or four seconds, but my heart continued to pound long after silence returned to the room. I woke up my husband to have him figure out what the commotion was, but he was only half awake and didn’t see anything suspicious around the house.
I had an appointment with my son’s pediatrician this morning, so as soon as we got breakfast down and our clothes on, we were out the door. I had forgotten all about the early morning disruption until I overheard the receptionist and another mom in the doctor’s office talking about an earthquake. Suddenly, it clicked. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband, who thought I had overreacted to snow falling off the roof or the normal sounds of a new home settling. As it turns out, my house is just under fifty miles from the farm in Elgin, IL where a 3.8-magnitude quake centered this morning at 4am. I had mixed feelings, relief that I hadn’t lost my marbles and a little fear that I had experienced my first earthquake. I immediately wondered if any damage had been done, but according to the news the last I checked, none has been found. The quake happened about 3 miles underground.
It was scary having my house shake like that, but a 3.8 magnitude earthquake is is nothing compared to the 7.0 earthquake that leveled Haiti. The Haiti earthquake was 1600 times as strong as the one we experienced here this morning. If such a brief and “mild” earthquake startled me so much, I can’t imagine what Haitians experienced just weeks ago. I imagine there might have been a young mother, like me, innocently feeding her child, only to have her entire world tumble around her. I forgot about the quake just hours after it happened, but the people in Haiti are nowhere near dealing with the destruction that tore their lives and families apart. My prayers are with them this afternoon.