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Marissa Jaret Winokur’s Blog: Why Hurricane Sandy Hit Home for Me

11/28/2012 at 07:00 PM ET

We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa Jaret Winokur back to our celebrity blogging family!

As you may recall, the Tony-winning actress, 39, beat cervical cancer 11 years ago, underwent a hysterectomy and later she and husband Judah Miller welcomed a baby boy with the help of a surrogate.

Their son, Zev Isaac, is now 4 and Winokur is back on the small screen, starring on TV Land’s Retired at 35.

She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur.

Marissa Jaret Winokur's Blog
Visiting the Empire State Building – Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur


The week after Hurricane Sandy, I sat down to do my monthly blog. There has been a lot of focus on my weightloss, so I knew I needed to address that. I thought, “This blog is going to be easy to write. I’ll talk about how I did it to everyone out there who is struggling with their weight as well.”

But then I got distracted by Facebook. Who doesn’t? My God, what did I do before Facebook? I guess I had to call people and see how they’re doing! Now I can just read a post and call when in trouble.

I saw a post from my oldest friend Nancy. We were best friends at age 5, living in New York, where she still resides.

Her post said, “Nine months pregnant … nine nights without power but my incredible husband is keeping us safe, warm and well-fed. Thank you to all who have been checking in on us. Baby L is a good listener so far, I told him/her to please not make your appearance until the power is back!”

OMG!!! Who cares how I lost weight?! Nancy was going to give birth to her first child alone and in the freezing cold dark. How terrifying!

My New York family had power only because my brother has a generator (very MacGyver of him!). But the theater my niece Emily worked at this summer is still underwater! How can I even think about a weightloss story?

I lived in New York my whole life. Like every New Yorker, I have stories about spending summers on the Jersey shore, riding the roller coaster in Seaside that is now famous for that sickening photo of it being washed out to sea.

I have many friends on Facebook who organized cars to drive into the devastation with basic things like blankets and diapers. My heart is broken for my hometown and all the people that Sandy has hit. I can’t imagine Nancy about to give birth!

The storm really had me thinking about our home safety. I live in California: earthquake capital!

I realized Zev is almost 4½ and we really haven’t talked as a family about what to do, where to go and where to meet if there was an earthquake. HAVE YOU?! I mean, REALLY? Your first instinct is, “Yes, I totally know what to do.” But really think about it! DO YOU REALLY?

This weekend, we are doing a legit earthquake drill at my house. We picked tables to hide under and meeting places. I am going to put together stuff you need in your garage and get flashlights and candles ready!

I mean, I can barely think ahead enough to have the right foods for Zev’s lunches let alone what I need for an earthquake kit!! You can find that info online — I was happy to see many websites dedicated to safety kits and such.

Marissa Jaret Winokur's Blog
With my family in Bedford – Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

This September was the first time I took Zev back to the street I grew up on in Bedford, N. Y. It was very emotional. I lived in the same house my whole life on a beautiful dead-end dirt road.

I always dreamed I would raise my family in that house — my father designed it and built it. My brother still lives nearby, so visiting is fun and easy.

We also took Zev into N.Y.C. We stayed downtown, right where all the flooding was. What would we have done if we were there when Sandy hit?

I know there are storms and disasters all the time, but this one really hit home to me. Now that I’m a parent, it all seems so incredibly sad and hard. I can honestly say — not proudly, but honestly — before I had a child I would see things on TV or hear the news, feel sad for the people and move forward with my day.

Now I see everything through a mother’s eyes. How would I deal with telling my son we are lucky to be alive, but we lost our home? How would I be able to make him understand we are lucky to have our house, but there will be no lights or electricity or warm food for weeks?

I feel so bad for the parents out there. Let’s be honest — being a parent is hard on a normal “everything is okay” day. Now add being a parent when you are made to feel helpless by the storm pounding on your house.

At a birthday party this past weekend, the mothers and I were all talking about how we can help, maybe sponsor a school that was hit or do a clothing drive or something. Anything!!

Within one day from the party our preschool teamed up with New York’s Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services‘ relief effort. There were flyers in every kids cubbyhole asking for help.

This is just one organization. There are so many ways you can help or work as a community with your friends and other families.

I know on Facebook, Jennifer Cody and the Broadway community is spearheading Rizzo Relief by gathering clothes, food, strollers and diapers and driving them in her own car to Staten Island and Queens — where families have been hit the hardest — and handing supplies to families in need.

I am in awe of everyone pulling together and really stepping up. I felt so helpless here 3,000 miles away in beautiful sunny weather … But we are not helpless.

This is when we can really work together and help out any way we can and teach our children through example.

Marissa Jaret Winokur's Blog
Zev hails a cab — Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

Zev is putting a box of his toys together to send to kids himself, and as he said, “Not just the baby toys. I’ll send some good ones too!” Ha.

I know for a fact that my weightloss blog would have been funnier. I understand the fluff and — dare I say, “lightness” — in the face of sadness is always welcomed! Trust me, I am a comedian and that’s how I make my living!

But right now I’m a mommy first. If this blog makes you put together a box of your old sweaters that you will never wear and send them to a family in need, then my time was better spent making you think than laugh.

I promise next month I will tell you how I lost 60 pounds step-by-step and the plan on keeping it off!!!

If you don’t have time to research other ways to help, please donate to the Red Cross.

– Marissa Jaret Winokur

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PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 3 comments

marissa winokur on

I AM THRILLED TO SAY THAT NANCY GOT HER WATER AND POWER BACK JUST IN TIME FOR THE BIRTH OF HER BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL! FAMILY IS WARM AND GRATEFUL!

I AM SURE NOT SLEEPING BUT THAT NOT SANDYS FAULT

LOL OXOXOOXOXOX

Marky on

I love Marissa, her acting, her story, and her huge smile and positive attitude! She seems to have her priorities in order, and her little boy is sooo cute!!

kpmonkeymommy on

LOVE LOVE LOVE everything Marissa writes… as always, she’s spot on in every word! So glad Nancy, her new baby, and her family are doing well… that had to be a scary situation and I’m glad she got everything back in time for the birth.

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