My weather radio: She's rude. She's loud. She's insistant. I love her!

I'm what I'd like to think of as an intuitive mother. I just know. You know?

Armed with just my gut instinct, I can pretty much navigate most things that pop up from day-to-day with Little Me and Little You. I do what feels "right." And, armed with antibiotics and pain reliever, I can take on whatever nasty bugs they bring in to share with the household. As all parents, I spend a lot of time doing things that keep us safe: locking doors, driving appropriately, teaching them about water and gun safety, warning about strangers, avoiding dangerous situations, etc.

But, one of the best decisions that has been made concerning the welfare of our tiny family wasn't made by me at all. It was a request that Little You made. Actually, it was more like a demand.

Little You has always had a healthy fear of thunder and lightening. If a storm moved in, it wasn't long before she was cuddled up in my bed howling her not so delightful whale songs throughout the night.

As many of you know, I love a good deal. I always scope out the clearance in any store we happen to be in. On a particular trip to a home supply store, we spotted a weather radio. Little You asked, actually demanded, we buy it. Considering that it would help her sleep better at night, I bought it.

It was several months before I programmed it. Not long afterward, I regretted having ever lived without one.

A few weeks ago, I thought about blogging about the nasty thing. It woke me up several times in one night for a severe storm. It's loud. And it scares the pee out of me when it goes off in the night. After four near heart attacks in the middle of the night, I awoke the next morning and gave her the evil eye. All her wailing through the night left me tired. In the morning light, I saw the massive tree limbs that fell during that storm and considered that perhaps I shouldn't be resentful at her rousing me in my sleep. But, the way she does it is loud and rude. I was still miffed. And, did I mention I was tired? And cranky?

But, the events of last week taught me something. Having a weather radio in your house is just as important as having a working fire alarm. Folks, it is not an option. We all must have a weather alert system in our homes.

My dad was surprised when we woke him in the middle of the night last week to inquire about his safety. He said, "I slept right through it." The tornado swept down a road just a mile or so from his house. He slept through it. I was flabbergasted.

It breaks my heart sometimes to see the panic in my kids' eyes when the alarm goes off on our tiny weather station. The scare of the alarm is a small price to pay to have a device that will alert us to take cover during a dangerous storm though.

I have to wonder how many people may have fared better last week had they had a weather radio. The tornadoes raged through Georgia well after most folks went to bed. In the case of a deadly torrent of wind, minutes count. Even seconds matter.

There are so many lessons and inspirations to be had from last week's deadly storm. We should value our families more. Value our possessions less. Those who lost everything are counting their blessings just to have their loved ones safe. I read an interview in which one victim said that the tornado had taught her how little things really matter. She lost everything. But, compared to those who lost loved ones, she had everything that mattered: her family is safe.

Don't count on the warning sirens to alert you. I have a fire station just down the road from my house. A friend says that the sirens went off several times the night of the tornado. We never heard them. My trusty weather radio, however, was bellowing at the top of her lungs. There was no chance of not hearing her incessant screeching.

Please. If you do not own a weather radio, make it a priority today. They don't cost much. They can save the most valuable things you have -- your loved ones.

Mother's Day and Father's Day are just around the corner. I'll be purchasing one for my dad.

No, it isn't an exquisite gift. It is, however, a gift that may save a life one day. It is a gift that will help all of you sleep better. It is a gift that says "I love you and I want you to be safe."

And... program the joker with the correct NOAA weather alerts in their area before you wrap it. Don't forget to load it with backup batteries as well.

The next time my obnoxiously loud weather girl wakes me from a delicious slumber in which I am on a yacht with my dear Robert Buckley, I won't cuss her.

I'll be reminded that my little girl cared enough to put her tiny foot down and demand we buy it. She wanted it because she loves us. She loves life. What better reason is there?

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