By Susan Traugh
“Mommy! Mommy! Come quick! It’s a miracle – it’s raining in the house!” My daughter could barely contain herself as she hopped up and down with the exciting news.
I ran to the family room to discover she was, in fact, correct. Like little natives, my three children were dancing, chanting and whooping with joy as they paid homage to the miracle of indoor rain. Horrified, I surveyed the buckled ceiling and copious amounts of water spilling from under our upstairs bathroom. Indoor rain.
The last thing we needed was a costly plumbing bill as we already teetered on the edge of disaster.
We couldn’t fix the leak. Instead, we opened up the ceiling to let it dry out. Then we all doubled up in our remaining bathroom.
But, that’s when the real miracle happened.
Suddenly, we were all together. As I rearranged toiletries and wedged us all into my one private space, I was angry. What next? We were honest, hard-working people. Yet, we couldn’t seem to catch a break. The bathroom was my one moment of privacy, and now, that too, was gone. Life seemed to be handing me lemons one after the other, and I wasn’t happy.
Mornings required an air-traffic controller. While I did my hair, the girls took their bath, or my son showered. Crammed together, there was no time for individual bathroom use.
Yet suddenly, there were stories. Stories of hopes and dreams. Stories of friendships gone awry or bad decisions narrowly averted. Without eye contact and with the pleasant warmth of the water, my kids seemed under the spell of some truth serum. And I was the beneficiary.
Day after day, I began to relish that time as the rich tapestry of my children’s lives began to unfold for me. That curtain served as a buffer so I could question and advise in a way that would have been impossible face to face.
As the stories unraveled, those threads intertwined with my stories and my guidance to form a new tapestry and a new kind of bonding. The truth is: we changed as a family during that time. And the change was good.
I’m not recommending that you go wreck your bathroom. What I am saying is that, in the midst of a real financial loss, a great gift was born.
Setbacks, big and small, can have silver linings. Some gifts come oddly wrapped. We couldn’t have been poorer that year – and yet, my relationship with my children couldn’t have been richer. Together, we stitched together a bond that has lasted into their teenaged years and beyond. It was a treasure I’d have never received had we been “richer.”
Financially, we barely made it through that year, and yet, even then we’ve never had a bad year. Oh, to be sure, there have been losses, setbacks and disasters. There have been light raindrops and torrential floods. But, that’s different. For we’ve learned that those losses and disasters contain the stuff of miracles – like the miracle of indoor rain.
About this writer
- Susan Traugh is an award-winning author of both commercial and educational books for children and adults. She lives in California with her husband and three teenagers.