What Harvey Left Behind: Our Storm Aftermath


By now you know the damage Hurricane Harvey caused for Houston and Texas overall. A few weeks ago I shared our experience, take that back, stressful experience.


We evacuated in a very dramatic rescue, I might add, because everybody was worried about the baby. When we did leave the water was already about to enter our garage. In fact, when the boat pulled up, the water grazed the inside of the garage. That entire day & night it kept raining and according to the news and the meteorologist’s predictions, the worst was yet to come.  So in our minds, our home was filling with water every moment that passed.

We left so fast that lunch was left untouched on the table


When someone was able to check on our home, there were no signs of water entering the home. We would come to find out that we were lucky, no water came in. Unfortunately not all our neighbors were spared. The guilt kicked in, so many others had lost so much. Although we had braced for that ourselves, it didn’t happen. But we didn’t know, there was that chance that the predictions would be exact and then we would have been stuck with a baby in our home for days.

Our special rescuers were The Church and they did an amazing job of rescuing and helping during the aftermath. They wanted to compile a video of the rescuees and I was asked to tell our story. We decided against it because we didn’t lose anything. Others deserved to tell their stories more than us.


While Harvey might not have disturbed our home, it disturbed our lives. With a baby, you have a routine, with work you have hours to keep and with a home you have a schedule you follow.

Hubby had just been working for the new company a week and here he was displaced from his home. His weekly conference call had to be done from a quiet room at my friend’s home, a bed full of stuffed animals in the background.

Our little man didn’t know what was happening, the first few days he thought it was one big sleepover and friends were all there to play with him. After those initial days, he was not having it. His sleep schedule was off, his surroundings were different, no time to himself in his crib or room. Even when we were able to return home, he couldn’t jump right back to his routine, we are still working on getting back to it, little at a time.

Displaced, including our furry family member who was not happy either

I was just starting to work with my baby on taking him into my studio an hour at a time. It had taken me weeks to work towards that hour at a time. That was gone with Harvey. He hasn’t used to it again, that with his routine messed up d0esnt make for a happy baby. So here we are starting from scratch again.


It was our nephew’s big birthday and we couldn’t celebrate because Harvey was in town and no one had birthdays on the mind. We did a redo and celebrated a month later, now that we are trying to get life back in order. Normal is coming, slowly.

He enjoyed celebrating his birthday again


The stress, oh the stress. The stress of the hurricane, the stress of not knowing how bad the damage would be if any, the stress of not having flood insurance (we are not in a floodplain), the stress of trying not to stress and of course just the stress the media caused by replaying everything over and over.

Volunteering at The Church

The toll: My milk supply

My baby is not done breastfeeding and I will not let a hurricane get in between of my baby’s milk. It isn’t gone but it sure dwindled, to almost nothing. I know a lot of mothers will say it’s ok, you can stop. I say you’re right if there is nothing I can do, but there is. I am doing everything in my power to get it back. Now that Harvey is gone, everything is being pushed back into place and I’m working on my baby’s milk supply.


Our goals are different, you better bet we are getting flood insurance even if it never floods here again. We will do the same if we buy in another “non-floodplain” neighborhood. A second story home is not looking so bad anymore or a highrise for that matter. Oh my favorite, I got the hubby to embrace letting go of material things! Minimalist is just a few baby steps away. The reason for this is because when we left, we took only one bag each and a bag for the baby. Three bags from this entire house and he finally understood what I have been talking to him about, less is more.


The light after the storm

Oh, how we saw Houston as a whole come together. The bigger picture, Texas came together and came in with a hug with surrounding states and people who rushed to help. If ever we needed to believe in the love and spirit of people was now during the aftermath of Harvey. We didn’t sit around waiting to be held by the hand. People started helping neighbors evacuate, shelter, tear down walls, move wet furniture and donating. So many donations that some people were turned away. Turned away with goods and manpower. That many people gave and were volunteering. That was one of the heartful silver linings of Hurricane Harvey.

We had personal silver linings that came out of the dark clouds of Harvey. I reconnected with two dear friends of mine. If I ever needed confirmation of who is true in my life, it all became clear after the storm. Including hubby and my family, both became closer because or in consequence of the storm. So thank you very much, Hurricane Harvey, for those silver linings.

Leslie M. Guzmán is a Guatemalan artist best known for her creative explorations of world cultures. Her works capture the untold stories of people, objects and the places from which they come.

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