I kept having magical house thinking about that toilet—you know, the hope that if you just ignore something broken in your home, it will somehow repair itself.
Dave isn't exactly handy, nor do leaky things bug him. I could place twenty hissing toilets in our bedroom and he would sleep right through it. I kept thinking I should call a plumber except I didn't want to shell out for one. Then my mom came for a visit this week. She heard the toilet. "Honey, remember how you used to fix the toilet at London's?" she said.
London's was a community where I spent my summers as a kid—what's known as a bungalow colony. We rented a glorified version of a shack for two months, went to day camp, hung out in the big community pool. The toilet in that cottage was always breaking and I was the one in my family who'd deal with it.
I'd forgotten about that, along with the fact that I used to fix all sorts of things. Countertop appliances, clocks, broken drawers, whatever. I loved to tinker and I found it really satisfying. I was good at it.
What happened to that girl?
I know I have a whole lot less time these days, but I also think that part of my spirit has gotten a little worn down. The act of fixing has consumed my life since Max was born; I've spent the better part of the last seven years building him up. I adjust, re-adjust, try something new, hold my breath and hope it'll work. There are no quick fixes, no shortcuts. It takes time and focus and fervent please, please, please work pleas.
I have been so immersed in Max's challenges—some of which I will never, ever be able to fix—that I'd forgotten I actually am capable of fixing certain things.
Not my mom. She knows all about the girl I used to be, and she still sees that in me.
I cocked my head at her. "You're right," I said. "I am going to fix that sucker."
I Googled, checked out diagrams, marched into our bathroom and messed around with the handle, the overflow tube, the big, black, rubber bobbing thing. Fifteen minutes later, I'd fixed the toilet. And I felt damn proud.
I've still got that girl in me.