Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...

Truth be told, I'm debating about whether to keep up this blog--which is more like a monthly column for as much as I write here. Maybe it's because 1) figuring out how to express this great and challenging and life-altering love I feel for Hadley is tough or 2) I write for a living, so writing in my free time seems a little redundant or 3) I'm tired because I'm the mama of a toddler.

But for now, I'm here. Jason is on his way home from the airport, and Hadley is in bed. I like alone time. I love my family, and I love being with them, and I often mourn the minutes I don't get to spend with them. But alone time is good.

All I need is a hot bath.

[Cue ironic background music that tells you that hot baths are not in my future tonight.]

Let me preface the complaining I'm about to do with a little caveat: I know I'm blessed. I know there are more good things in my life than I can count. I know that there are mamas out there tonight whose babies are sick--very sick--and who would cry with joy if someone gave them the option to trade their problems for mine. I'm still trying to figure out this crazy imbalance of goodness in the world.

A hot bath would be a very appropriate place to contemplate such things.

But our hot water heater broke. Leaked all over the basement floor. I discovered it last night, five minutes after said goodbye to Jason (who was in Orlando) and told him that I was going to bed because I was exhausted. I decided to run one bundle of retired toys downstairs because I knew if Hadley saw them, she'd want to play with them, and my sorting would be wasted.

I suppose it's a good thing because if it had leaked all night, the whole basement would have been flooded. But as it turned out, I called my dad (because that's what I always do when I'm in a real bind), and he came over to drain the water tanks. Until 1:00 a.m.

So there was no hot water for us today. And I am tired. I realized today just how much I rely on Jason for help problem-solving. We're a good team--a very good team--and I didn't just miss him because calling plumbers isn't really my strong suit. But it's really not. See?

ME: "Um, hi. My name is Hilary, and I have a baby at home. I mean, she's a toddler, 20 months. So she's not really a baby, I guess. My friend Megan referred me to you. You worked at her house a few weeks ago. Maybe a month. I don't really know when, actually."

Pause. At this point, the plumber is wondering if I've mistaken him for a baby-sitting service or a free counseling center for crazy moms.

ME again: "Anyway, our water heater broke. So I'm calling to see if you have one. You know, to sell. To me. To us. I have a husband. He's just out of town."

Then I'm thinking, "Oh, crap. You just told a strange man that your husband is out of town and you have a young child at home. Didn't you read those books about stranger danger? You are Mother of the Year."

ME again: "And when could you come install it? I need you to come tomorrow. [Trying to sound really firm.] And how much would you charge me? Us. Because, you know, I have a husband who is coming home very soon."

The plumber is thinking, "Man, I wish I had another job booked tomorrow so I didn't have to go to the crazy lady's house." He says, "I can come in the morning. 9:30." He gives me a bid that feels totally irrelevant to me because I never buy hot water heaters, and I tell him I have to call him back. I ask my dad his opinion. He says the bid sounds fine. I wait another 30 minutes to call the plumber back because I'm trying to play it cool, make him sweat it out a little bit. Now I realize that he was probably happier in those 30 minutes, imagining that I wouldn't call him back, than he was when I called to hire him.

So I did it. We were having such a great week, Hadley and me. I was feeling such lightness at not having to juggle a full-time job and my life at home, and then--kablooey--fat, mushy puddles in the basement deflated me.

But even in the midst of this chaos, I can choose thankfulness. For my daddy, who proves that you never stop being a parent, even when your oldest child is 32 years old and raising her own child. For Hadley, who was a great dinner date tonight (I did what any sane mother would do and took her out for pizza). For the resources to buy a new hot water heater, though I would have preferred to spend that money on a weekend in Jackson Hole. For a home where a hot water heater can break. And for a husband who just walked in the door.

G'night. (Oh, but before I go, here's a shot of the Hadster at the beach in Florida. More on that soon.)


  1. I know your blog is time consuming, but I so love to read them! Hilary, your writing puts a smile on my face, sometimes laughter so hard I cry (the sled pictures of Hadley and Harper with the captions), sometimes a tear in my eye, and others make me think and wonder about things too, but I love reading them! And the pictures of our precious Hadley, they are priceless! Seeing her grow and change from the baby to the toddler she is today, well, what more can I say? I love you all :-)

  2. Hilary, I'm still here reading! Don't stop! Your readers aside, I imagine that in 10 or 20 years, or when Hadley becomes a mama, you'll be so glad to have this record of this time in your life.

    I love this story -- even though it's about a not-so-lovable experience. Sounds like you need a "Hraka happens" mug...

  3. I'm still reading too!! I love your writing!! I have been blogging too, but no one reads mine hehe :) Love you!