Did you know that if you are a Married Solo Mom you can know exactly when the washer will break down, the sewer will back-up, the kids will develop meningitis, the alternator on the van will die and the collectors will start calling? Yep, it’s not hard!
If you are Married Solo Mom you know it happens when your husband is not only not around, but the farthest away he could possibly be! And likely there’s a storm in Denver or Chicago and he can’t fly home even if he wanted to.
At least that’s how it feels.
When trouble strikes
There was a day in December 10 years ago when our sewer system exploded into our house. Every drain of any kind had raw sewage spouting through it, up toward the ceiling like a high-powered fountain. It happened just moments before my babysitters (who had never been to my house before, or met my kids) arrived. I was dressed to the 9’s and ready to go to a Christmas ladies breakfast at church. Needless to say I didn’t make it.
Of course Trent was somewhere gallivanting across the globe, living high and mighty in hotels and eating restaurant food. I was left standing in the … sewage.
By the time the HazMat teams arrived and cut out the ceiling where the sewage had saturated the drywall and dripped through onto my kitchen table…
By the time they had ripped out all our carpet, set up massive drying machines and sprayed the whole house with chemicals…
I was worn out.
Did I mention the house was for sale and the next day was an Open House?
A neighbor, a quiet man who rarely spoke, came over and met me on the driveway when the Fire Department and Police showed up. He asked me what was going on (reasonable question). I opened my mouth to talk, but my tear ducts responded and I ended up crying like a baby. Without a word my neighbor turned and walked home. I felt so alone.
We were sent out for the rest of the day. We couldn’t go back into the house for many hours. When we finally did arrive home, exhausted and cranky (me, not the kids) I was not looking forward to figuring out what to feed my family in a kitchen that first had to be sterilized, cleaned and, well, deodorized.
I unbuckled the four kids (they were all still in car seats and the baby wasn’t walking yet) and waddled to the door with diaper bag, car seat and baby on my hip. Nothing was a wondrous a sight as what met me as I rounded the corner onto my front step.
When God sends angels
It was a little gift bag sitting right there in the middle of the porch.
I placed my bundles down and picked up the bag. Looking inside I found a bottle of delicious smelling lotion (someone knew that I would need something pretty to smell in a house full of yuckiness). Looking a little farther I found a gift certificate. $100 for Boston Market.
Never one quick to tears, I started bawling. I shepherded the kids back to the van. Through streaming tears I buckled them all up again, ignoring their groans and complaints. I couldn’t speak through my sobbing. When we arrived at Boston Market I could hardy order. Tears blurred my vision, and I was still grabbing breaths between sobs. We got our food and sat down to eat. I made sure I faced the wall. I cried the whole meal.
Me, my kids, and several bowls of tears.
‘Why are you crying, Mama?’ asked one.
‘It’s hard to explain. But I think Mama just figured out that God was taking care of us when Papa couldn’t be here.’
It’s true. We often feel alone. Like the worst of the burden falls to us. And maybe it does. But even so, God doesn’t leave us or forsake us. He may not show up to fix the drywall, or miraculously erase the mess. But He sends angels.
Sometimes those angels look a lot like neighbors.