I’m sick, head in the toilet sick, and it’s Halloween (costumes to finish and can you find this and I can’t find that) and then the basement floods. A pressure valve thingee that got stuck and blew the top of the pump and water gushing everywhere. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the laundry mountain hadn’t been covering the drain hole.

I wake from restless morning napping to a strange sound and when I venture downstairs to check, it’s like stepping into a swimming pool. Call for the boys and frantically phone the husband. And if I’m being honest, I may have said dammit within hearing distance of my kids. Maybe twice.

It’s all a blur of turning valves and flicking switches until the water stops running and what’s left is the mopping up.

I sit on the stairs and I just want to cry. It’s such a mess and I’m so sick and I’ve been shouting get this and do that at the boys and I honestly think I might not make the day. It all feels like one giant mom fail. Not gracious at all.

It’s a small prayer, an SOS really.

Redeem this, Father. Help me.

I tell the boys to do their best with the shop vac and the towels, and I go up to my bed.

By evening I’ve turned the corner. I’m thinking I’ll get up and make pancakes for supper, and I’m thinking about the whole thing. The mess of the day.

I remember my prayer and I know there are many others with so much more to bear. Women all over the world with the weight of family on their shoulders. Some for whom just putting food on the table is a constant concern. Some battling daily with struggles of illness or finances or marriage. Some who just this spring dealt with flooding and displacement and worry about what to do next. My day’s troubles pale in the light of his answer. He does redeem.

My redeemed day looks different.

It’s a teenaged boy who willing helps his foster brother get his breakfast and catch his bus, packing lunch and homework and Halloween costume. And who then brings me tea.

It’s two boys who work hard all day to empty and dry a basement. Who say, we’ve got this Mom, when I tell them I have to go to bed.

It’s a friend who picks up my son to go trick-or-treating in town, so he won’t miss the fun. And two boys who take a ten-year-old treating after they’ve worked hard all day. And a husband who comes home and heads straight to the basement to fix the water problem.

It’s family, making their own lunches and bringing the sick mom ginger ale. And sitting together after supper. And graciously saying, I don’t even remember, when I apologize for the shouting.

Maybe it wasn’t a mom fail day after all?

Maybe, on second glance, it was a mom win.