Of Toilets and Tornadoes

Last week Missouri held a special severe weather test day and sirens blared in sync across the state. There is a notification tower next to my son’s school and he has commented that the sirens are super loud during normal weekly tests, but this was a surprise drill, so I thought it might catch the kids off guard. When I picked up my tornado-skittish son from school that afternoon, I offhandedly asked him if that day’s siren was loud. I thought the extra warning may have startled him a bit because the entire school did the full-press severe weather run-through. I didn’t expect the response he gave, but we both laughed so hard that I had to share.

Apparently, my little man was in art before the siren set everything in motion, but he also requested a potty break and found himself in front of a urinal when the school went into severe weather lockdown. As I said, my son has a fear of tornadoes but he assured me that the need to pee won out on his severe weather fear. According to him, “You can’t just stop peeing. It doesn’t work that way.”

After he finished his business, uncertainty and potential tornado panic quickly gripped him, so he decided to seek shelter in the stall next door, locking the door behind him. I can’t imagine how frightened he must have been, alone and locked in a toilet with a so-called storm headed his way. My mama heart was immediately so sad for him. . . but then my empathy quickly turned to giggles as he continued to recount his perilous tale.

Of course, teachers have to account for their students during all sorts of emergency drills and since my son was missing from his classroom, his art teacher reported his absence. This resulted in the administrators going on a lost child hunt while sirens screamed and students hunkered in their rooms. Eventually, the principal made it to the bathroom turned tornado retreat and called for my son by name. I think my son’s relief won out over his embarrassment, because he immediately gave away his position and was discovered on a public toilet sheltering from the pseudo-storm.


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