i was just reading a post by kristy, at pampers and pinot, about her son turning 3 and how as we hit each kid birthday, we relive the birth of our kid. and she's right, i totally do that every year on brooke's birthday. but another thing i always remember every year on her birthday is her second birthday party. her first birthday came right at the same time as we were moving from one state to another & our lives were in chaos and transition, so we didn't do much to celebrate. it's not like she knew, anyway, so it kind of floated on past with little recognition.
for her second birthday, i wanted to make up for the first one & have a big to-do for brooke. most of our friends didn't have kids and we were working with a small church where she was kind of the mascot for the whole group since she was the only tyke around. i invited all our friends over (no family because none lives near us) and we were expecting a house full of adult guests and fun.
shortly before the people were expected to arrive, i was scrambling around, trying to finish getting everything ready. i was cleaning frantically, fixing food, keeping the birthday girl happy and occupied all the while trying to get myself presentable in hopes that i wouldn't appear as sweaty & disheveled as i was feeling. i ran into the kitchen & stopped cold when i saw something drip out of the ceiling. then it dripped again and within a matter of just a few minutes, several more leaks had sprung from the ceiling and i was setting up bowls and buckets around the floor to try to keep it from forming a lake all over my freshly mopped linoleum.
my husband and one of his friends who had just arrived were trying to figure out what was causing the leak. they found the water heater in the attic and that it wasn't just leaking, it was pouring out. they couldn't find any way to shut it off & they were getting pretty soggy and disheveled themselves, in the attic in tennessee in the middle of summer, as they struggled to find a way to stop the flow. our landlord was out of town and unreachable. we called the water company & after some time on hold, since it was, of course a weekend, they went out to the hole in the ground for access to the main water supply and attempted to shut off the water to the whole house. but, naturally, it hadn't been used in many years and the thing was rusted stiff and couldn't be turned.
back in the house, i was on the verge of total overload because portions of the sheet rock were starting to crumble and tumble right out of my ceiling and splatter on the counters and floor around me and there was water pouring like a waterfall through the light fixture. i was pretty sure that death by electrocution was in the very near future for myself, or one of my beloveds.
eventually, they did get the water turned off. not before our guests arrived, but for them, it wasn't nearly as stressful as it was for me. they helped me mop & clean up the giant, wet mess that was my kitchen, while salvaging as much food as possible. someone showed up with a couple bottles of wine & i promptly claimed one and guzzled it rapido. i hadn't had much in the way of alcohol in several years, at that point, so it went straight to my head. before long, i was feeling all happy and silly and loud, and was about to start on a new bottle of wine when one of the pastor's wives took my cup away. she told me i didn't get to have any more wine until i'd had some food and waited for a bit to make sure that i really still wanted to drink more.
of course, by the time i'd eaten & calmed down for a bit, i realized that i was already more than drunk enough and should have had about half a bottle less than i'd already consumed. i don't remember very much about the party, other than how fun it was.
eventually, it was very late and my little early-to-bed girl needed to be tucked in, in spite of how many people were still at our house. tucking the girlie was my job, so i carried on with the bedtime routine- brushing her teeth, dressing her into her jammies, duct taping her diaper around her body so that she wouldn't peel it off & pee up her bed in the night, reading her little picture books to her, singing "Jesus loves me." the whole ordeal was distressing for me to be executing while heavily intoxicated, but singing "Jesus loves me" in a drunken, pathetic way to my sweet little toddler on her birthday was entirely too much for me. during that song, i told God, hopefully not out loud, that i would never again get drunk when my child was around. i didn't want brooke to remember her childhood and think of her tacky mommy singing her drunkenly to sleep at night.
the wind was out of my sails at that point and i was glad i hadn't had that extra plastic cup full of wine, after all. and to this day, more than 6 years later, i've never even come close to having that much to drink again, even if brooke wasn't around. i guess my days of drinking are over. now where's my dr pepper?