I have been alone in my strange prepping beliefs for a very long time, but when Ready.gov was introduced by the US Government, to educate and empower Americans to be prepared during an emergency, I held my head a little higher. A wood stove, a garden, and being prepared for a Canadian invasion wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

I had a “Bug Out Bag” before it was popular, I was a mom. Whenever and wherever we traveled, I carried a bag with everything we could possibly need from baby wipes, extra clothes, tweezers, crayons, and enough food in the cooler to feed a half a dozen hungry cattle.

My friends laughed at me and would ask me for arbitrary items just to see if I had them. Sure enough, I could pull a pair of needle nose pliers, and fishing hooks from my bag. I believed in being prepared.

I wanted to have the “Let’s be Prepared” discussion with my children. I wanted them to think ahead and be prepared for the unexpected. I asked each child to name something they would put in their overnight bag (aka bug out bag) besides the obvious, change of clothes, toothpaste, etc. I was interested to hear their perspectives.

My teenage daughter blurted out, “Journal” and her little brother said, “Game Boy”. Another yelled “Extra batteries”.

When I asked, “What if we had to hunt for food?” My three boy scouts jumped at the opportunity to tell mom how it is done.
“We are going to need that sling shot you confiscated”.
“You will have to buy that BB gun I have been asking for!”
“We can build a snare trap!”
“I have a plant identification book!”
“We will need salad dressing, if I have to eat weeds!” My teenage daughter said sarcastically.

“What if we had to use water from a river?” I asked expecting similar answers of preparedness they had learned in scouting. However, this got the attention of my four-year-old. With a huge smile, she waved enthusiastically to add her ideas.

I have to tell you first that harnesses were invented with children like her in mind. You could not turn your back on her, you didn’t take your eyes off of her and if it was quiet, there was trouble.

She spent her formative years strapped into some type of apparatus, the high chair, the grocery cart, and her car seat. She was always tied down and always struggling to escape. Once she escaped, she would be run like mad, laughing until we caught her.

When she was two years old, I had to use the sofa to block the front door to keep her from getting out of the house. Eventually, one day she worked up her strength, slid the sofa away from the door and ran down the street laughing before I caught up with her two blocks away.

At three years of age; she managed to escape my grasp in a busy grocery store parking lot. Horrified, I chased after her, screaming her name repeatedly. She laughed running as fast as she could, dodging cars and shopping carts. A nightmare, as motorists slammed on their breaks and strangers looked at me as though I was not only a neglectful mom, but a screaming, crazy mom as well.

I finally tackled her. Relieved she was not hurt, I caught my breath, held up my chin and marched passed all of the Piggley Wiggley shoppers with my little girl in a headlock. Back to where I had left my groceries, purse and five other children who are shaking their heads in embarrassment.

I was anxious to hear what this child had to say about emergency preparedness. “We will need floaties if we go into the river mommy”.

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Oh Lord, I could see her now, escaping down the river in an inner-tube; laughing and waving goodbye.

I was so proud of her. She was now pre-planning her escape and beach toys would be in her preferred Bug Out vehicle.

So simple and compact, floaties can be a part of anyone’s Bug Out bag.


To be continued…