Bad news, honey. Yesterday the roof in our garage was leaking, and your step father and I spent quite a bit of time staring at the ever darkening ceiling, wondering what exactly we were supposed to do to stop it, to keep the water from entering the rest of our home. We poked a few holes in it where it was bulging, watched the water stream out, and hoped for the best.
We were so discouraged, darling, discouraged in a way that a fourteen year old could never understand. You see, it was only eight months ago that our aging roof was replaced. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the money to pay a contractor, and so Husbandly One hired a guy who "had done" roofing, went to Home Depot, spent a few thousand dollars on materials, and then he and this young man climbed a ladder to rip off our old roof and hopefully replace it with something better.
For the two hottest weeks of the summer of 2010, your step father and this man worked hard, every day, to give us a new and better roof. They worked to protect us.
As you know, the snowfall in our area this winter is the highest it has been in recorded history. A few weeks ago, Husbandly One went on the roof to shovel it off, and it was five feet deep. Think about that, Brian: the snow on our roof was almost as tall as you. He shovelled off everything he could, and we hoped for the best.
Yesterday, on a suprisingly warm March evening, I suddenly turned to Husbandly One and said, "What's that noise??" He couldn't hear it yet, but he knows that women often hear noises that men simply can not, and we both wandered around the house, trying to pinpoint the noise that had awakened my "Danger" impulse.
Then we opened the door to the garage.
And saw water pouring from the ceiling in a dozen different spots.
We ran for buckets, we ran for garbage cans, and then Husbandly One went up in to the attic to see what was going on. For two hours, he filled buckets of water in the attic and passed them down to me in the garage so that I could dump them in to a garbage can.
And finally he said, "That's it babe, there's nothing more we can do, let's go to bed."
So we crawled in to bed, but neither of us slept for a long long time, thinking about the damage to our home, the money lost...around 1 am, I finally heard Husbandly One sleep, but I kept watch.
At 2:30am, I heard a noise like nothing I had ever heard in my life, but I immediately knew what it was and I sat bolt upright in bed. Husbandly One was too deeply asleep to hear it, but he did feel me sit up.
"Wha issssh it?" he mumbled.
"The garage ceiling just collapsed."
We got up, and, with a lantern, went to check the damage. The ceiling had indeed collapsed, we couldn't even open the door all the way due to pieces of the ceiling hanging in our way. We thrust the lantern in to the darkness as well as we could, and finally Husbandly One said, "Well babe, there's nothing we can do about it right now. Let's go to bed. What's done is done."
We did go back to bed, but I lay awake unitl past 4:30 this morning, all I could think was, "The Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments."
My dear son, perhaps someday you will read this letter. Perhaps you will be a grown man by then, and you will have forgotten how much you treasure those ornaments, how you force me EVERY YEAR to take pictures of each and every one of them in case something happens to them. You, like me, equate these silly baubles with our family history. Each and every ornament on our tree holds a story, each bears witness to who we are as a family.
And I left the fucking things in my garage, in a fucking cardboard box.
Today, when I got home from work, I immediately went in to the garage, dodging hanging sheets of pink insulation, hoping more drywall wouldn't fall on my head, camping lantern in hand as we clearly can not turn on the light in the garage. The water on the floor was almost two inches deep, but thank GOD no more was coming from the ceiling.
And then I saw the reason I went in to the garage in the first place, our Christmas boxes. I tried to pick the first one up, but the bottom gave way and so I came back to the house to get a baking sheet. I slid the metal tray under the box, and was able to bring it in to the house. Then I went back in for another one. And another one. And another one.
Let me be clear about this darling: all of our camping gear is ruined. So are my skis, so is our outdoor furniture, so are a million other things.
But I saved your ornaments.
I spent hours tonight, wiping off each one, then carefully tying them to hangers so I could hang them to dry in my craft room. My closet is now full of our memories, they are strewn across the spare bed, they are sitting on racks in the kitchen, they are hanging from the shower curtain, they are hanging from the curtain rod in our living room. I will not allow one single memory, one single story, one single laugh, to disappear in the face of this crisis. These things are YOURS and I will safeguard them for you.
Darling Brian, I will not tell you that no one will ever love you more than I do, after all I can not measure how your future spouse or children may feel, I admit they could conceivably love you "more" than I do. But darling kitty cat, I am your mother, and no one else will ever love you the WAY your Mummy loves you.