I have a magic power.
Don't laugh, it's true. I noticed it in high school. Really, my best friend really brought it to my attention later, but by my late teens, I'd certainly noticed the trend. I can make anything leak. Anything.
At first I just thought it was the shit hole trailer I lived in as a teenager. I mean, any day that a wall didn't crumble down around me was a good one there. Being poor was an every day adventure made even more interesting by my unreachable slumlord. The bathroom floor started moving a little, I left messages. It started moving a lot, I left more messages. When it started squishing, I got pretty nervous. People would come over and ask if I'd noticed that there was a leak in my bathroom. No, I thought everyone's bathroom floor had a high tide.
In a few months the landlord came out, declared it a leak from the air conditioner and had it fixed along with the floor. A few weeks later, it started to squish again. A few more months of unreturned calls, they came and declared the same problem. This time the floor wasn't actually sagging, so they left the water stained linoleum in place. I put a rug down.
Eventually, my eighteen year old self would crawl under the trailer (which actually wasn't as horrifying as I had anticipated) took about 13 seconds to find the leaking pipe, wrap some duct tape around it and my floor never squished again. I was annoyed, but empowered.
One day before I left for work, I heard an odd pop followed by what sounded like river rushing nearby. A pipe had burst behind the closet in my bedroom. Several hysterical phone calls later, the water was turned off and I began mopping up gallons of water out of my floor. Bad luck to be sure, but I still thought my misfortune was in living in a shanty.
Several times in a year, my windshield wiper fluid tubing cracked and needed to be replaced. The reservoir which held the windshield fluid leaked, then the oil & antifreeze. I drove an old beater. It was to be expected, right?
Eventually I got a better job and with it a better car and place to live. And then that car's windshield wiper fluid tubing cracked. My landlord was infinitely better and quickly needed to send our ancient handy man out to fix leaking toilets and pipes; to install shiny new faucets. By now I knew I had a problem.
Then I got older, more educated and an even better job. I was ready to buy a home. No way I wanted to buy something with a damp basement. I was still single and though I'd learned a few simple home repairs along the way, I didn't want to need to do them. I had a house built. New meant dry, right?
Four months later, I went to my essentially empty basement to put something in storage and found a puddle in the floor. I called my builder in a tizzy. You have to fix it. They did. I got a pretty new downspout and some new spackle.
One night my best friend was over to visit. I wandered into the kitchen for a drink and I splashed. The sink was leaking. I yelled for her to grab some towels. She started laughing. "I'm so surprised your sink is leaking."
There have been at least a dozen leaking pipes, drains & faucets since then. Tonight I found 3 more (yes, three separate leaks) in my basement plumbing. I didn't even call for David to help. I grabbed the buckets and moved the endangered furniture. I thanked myself for marrying a handy guy.
After I'd minimized the damage, I collapsed in the chair and chuckled. I could hear my best friend's voice in my head, laughing again. I really am magic. Wherever I go, things leak.
As a parent, life is filled with leaks. Diapers, sippy cups, tears; they all leak. Of course, Robbie being my son, that just wasn't enough. Additionally, his stomach leaked through his diaphragm causing his reflux. After his G tube was placed, there were leaks out the sides of that, never mind the frequent accidental disconnections leading to milk-soaked clothes and crib.
Call me superstitious but when I find a recurring theme, I look for the lesson that life, the universe, that God is trying to teach me. I don't know for sure what that is.
For now, I just keep plugging holes and trying to minimize damage whenever I can. Sometimes I can prevent or minimize it. Often I do a lot of mopping. Sometimes I need help and call in reinforcements with buckets.
Maybe the lesson from the hovel of my youth was simply to prepare me for adulthood and parenthood. Things leak, it's okay. It's frustrating and tiring and sometimes you need help. The lesson from my new house was that sometimes new isn't better, just different. You can change your location, but not who you are. In the end, no matter where it is you end up, or how bad things look, they usually end up cleaner & brighter, you just have to work to get there.