Saturday, May 8, 2010

An unexpected day

Today is Mother's Day eve. My in-laws came to town for a visit, but I didn't get to visit with them. My sons had soccer games, but I didn't go see them. My middle child scored his first goal of the season, but I missed it. And to top it all off: I spent the day scrubbing mold and mildew off of damp basement walls and peeling carpet off of damp basement floors. But you know what? It was the best Mother's Day Saturday I've ever had.

Last week Nashville was inundated during the heaviest rains of at least the past century. As a result, water seeped into my parents' basement. Just a little water. No big deal, they thought. They were wrong. When they peeled back the 1960s faux-wood paneling adorning my childhood playroom, they found ugly black mold and mildew growing from wall to wall and an ugly cracked foundation.

Last night, while my sweet husband took over soccer-practice duty, I headed to Home Depot, then Lowes, then back to Home Depot in search of mold annihilating spray. I loaded up on said spray, mold inhibitor, spray bottles, scrub brushes ... a veritable mold-killing arsenal. And this morning, I headed to Bellevue, the town where I grew up.

On my way to my parents' house, I noticed heaps of furniture and carpet and toys that had been destroyed in the flood lying curbside. I wondered how the homeowners must have felt dragging these things that surely held special memories to the curb to be collected with the trash. It made me especially sad because most people here had no flood insurance. There was no need; most of the neighborhoods aren't in flood plains. Yet, I knew from watching the news every night that the people of Nashville were not defeated. They were calm and confident that life would go on. As I drove, I wondered HOW these people, whose entire lives worth of things had been destroyed, could remain hopeful.

When I arrived at my parents' house, every bit of dread that I had about spending the day cleaning mold from walls disappeared, and I was overwhelmed with gratefulness. Though water had seeped into their basement, it hadn't destroyed anything but carpet and wall paneling. Nothing meaningful would be dragged to their curb today.

While working in mom's storage room, I came across my dad's old collection of jazz albums, so we listened to Ella Fitzgerald while we scrubbed and scraped and scrubbed. And we talked. And we laughed. And when it came time for lunch, disgustedly dirty as we were, we decided to eat outside on the patio together. Our own little Mother's Day picnic.

At the end of the day, my entire body ached. As I type this, I am so tired that my eyelids are drooping. But my heart is full. I know now WHY the people of Nashville are so full of hope and peace. They have seen the best of each other through this difficult time. And once you've experienced the joy of the human spirit, no THING means quite as much.

I'll never forget this beautiful Mother's Day weekend. God bless all you mommies out there... especially those of you in Nashville. :-)

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