I remember during one of my husband’s many deployments, I sat in the living room watching television with my three babies cuddled up against me. They were 3, 4, and 5 at the time, so I was happy to finally get a little peace and quiet. It was about midnight when I heard water start flowing, as if from the faucet onto the floor. I jumped up and ran out into the kitchen where the refrigerator’s water unit had burst and water was flowing out nonstop. The water began flooding the kitchen and seeping out into the living room. As I ran to grab every towel and sheet I could find just to try to soak it all up, dead mice washed out from under the cabinets. The water pushed their dead lifeless bodies out towards me and they smelled of wet dog hair.
My kids awoke to find me crying, screaming, and swearing my husband’s name with every possible obscenity. My Autistic 3 year old started screaming, as she was confused among the chaos, while my 4 and 5 year old boys tried to help me wipe the water up, but got completely soaked in the process. Between the water, the mice, the crying, and my anxiety, I desperately dialed my father in law’s number. My father in law owned his own business in appliance repair on the East Coast. He was the one person I figured who could help me with the refrigerator issue.
Unfortunately, I was in Arkansas and he was in New York, so he couldn’t help much and the only solution to stop the leak was to shut off the water. I had to go outside across the dark half an acre yard with a flashlight and stick my hand down a drain of bugs to find the water valve. After I shut it off, crying and soaking wet, my father in law informed me that I couldn’t flush the toilet or take a shower until I was able to get a hold of the landlord. That posed another problem considering our landlord was military as well and he was deployed too. I decided to wait for the morning so my father in law could walk me through repairing the refrigerator myself. I didn’t sleep again that night, but I did learn how to fix a refrigerator water filter and supply line.
So for me, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for having my husband home and no longer deployed and I am thankful for my children who always tried to help me no matter how chaotic it was.