You gotta love helpful warning labels: Caution — do not sit under coconut tree. Warning — rat poison causes cancer in laboratory rats. Ten cuidado — do not rub jalapeno juice in your eyes. But those flammable pajama labels are so, so important, because I was all set to build a campfire in the kids’ beds before I spotted that helpful tip.
Last night I had a dream that the Christmas tree (yes, it’s still up. Don’t be jealous.) caught on fire and the house went up in flames. Even knowing that it was just a dream, I couldn’t go back to sleep for an hour, and lay in the dark thinking about evacuating our three kids in their flammable pajamas. So this morning we had a crash-course emergency review course at the breakfast table. We are all ready to proceed calmly to the nearest exit. Our little guy, aged 7, was visibly troubled at the idea of all of his beloved stuffed tigers going up in smoke, and it did make me wonder what I would grab in my dash for the door. Jewelry box? Photo album? Hard drive? Financial papers? Bible?
My husband’s grandparents’ house burnt to the ground when he was in college, and he will always remember wading through ash and finding only a few metal spoons, part of a rifle, a woodburning stove. Sure, you can take precautions, put the valuables in easy reach, make a plan, but there’s no way to insure against catastrophe, not with all the warning labels in the world. So what really matters at the end of the day? What would you grab?