Never did I wish to hear those sounds as I stepped off the bottom stair into my fully finished and carpeted basement. Expletives were thrown out of my mouth like confetti as I turned on the light to survey the damage. Yep, the basement was flooded. Not just flooded, it was flooded. "How do you change a sump pump?" I yell upstairs in a panic to my husband, expecting him to calmly and collectively know exactly what to do, per his usual demeanor. "I have no idea..." he responded in a frantic tone.
Now what? My fight or flight response tells me to run upstairs, close the door, and pretend it didn't happen. Like Schrodinger's Cat, if I kept the door closed my basement could be both flooded and dry. I could live with that. I could just never use my basement again. It would be fine. But then the adult in me kicked in and I started making phone calls. First to my parents to whine about my misfortune and then to friends who I thought might know more about changing sump pumps and dealing with a flooded basement than my husband and I. Within minutes we had my parents on the phone waiting with bated breath and giving all the advice we needed and a friend on his way over with a dry-vac and his endless knowledge of household tasks. By 11pm, a new sump pump was installed, the water removal process had begun, and my husband and I had new homeowner knowledge thanks to the incredible command of my friend and colleague. We went to sleep that night exhausted and stressed, but oh so grateful.
I have always heard that it takes a village to raise a child but what I have come to realize is that it takes a village to raise an adult as well. My husband and I married young, right out of college, and we felt invincible. There was nothing the two of us couldn't handle! Car buying? Easy. Living within our means? Piece of cake. Adulting on a daily basis? Not even a challenge. We have been very fortunate, my husband and I. While we worked hard and were very conscious of our decisions, everything had, more or less, worked out for us. It wasn't until I took those fateful steps into the lagoon that was my basement that I realized how full of disillusionment I was. No matter how cautious, intelligent, or attentive you are, sometimes, shit just happens and you need help.
Thankfully, my village stepped up in ways I don't feel I deserve. From coming over late on a school night to replace a failing pump to pulling out sopping wet carpet and hauling it out to the garage to replacing our drywall to helping to carry the burden of it all, our village showed up. And while it's going to take a while for our basement to feel finished again, we couldn't have gotten as far as we have without our village. I have come to realize that anyone who says they can do this life on their own is fooling themselves or maybe? Maybe they just haven't experienced the horror that is a flooded basement yet. Either way, there is no way any of us would be where we are today without our friends and family who support us in the little and big ways they do daily. Yeah, we'd probably survive this crazy world without them but it wouldn't be as full of love, giving, and gratefulness. Sure it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a heck of a village to raise an adult too. After all, as the Beatles said, we all get by with a little help from our friends. And if I can't live my life by Beatles lyrics then I'm just not sure I know how to live at all.