This I Believe

Megan - Skowhegan, Maine
Entered on January 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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Strength of Family

I believe in the strength of family.

On August 3, 2005, at one o’clock in the morning, my family and I walked through the entryway of our house, lugging a week’s worth of baggage from vacation. My first thought when I walked through that entryway was how awful it smelled in there. I was following my mother who was trying to open the kitchen door. It was stuck. When the door finally budged, we all walked straight into a nightmare that lasted four months.

It smelled—worse than one thousand cats’ litter boxes. There were puddles all over the kitchen floor; parts of the ceiling were falling down; the counters were all warped and bubbled. We dispersed throughout the house, wondering if the rest was like the kitchen. My brother Andrew and I raced up the stairs. I flew into my room and Andrew into his. My dad, meanwhile, was in the kitchen. He turned on the faucet and discovered that we had no running water. He went down into our basement and turned the water back on. Upstairs, Andrew and I immediately heard water running. We hurried into the bathroom together to find water spouting out of the sink pipe in gushes. I tried to stop the flow, but it kept coming and coming endlessly. Andrew yelled down from the top of the stairs, “Shut the water off! Shut the water off!” My dad heard him and did. We then all congregated in the bathroom to absorb the horror. We had had a pipe burst under our bathroom sink.

Travel-weary and bleary-eyed, we wandered through the house and sized up the damage. My mother could not stop crying when she discovered boxes and boxes of pictures on the family room floor drenched with water, ruined. My sister Rachael was in a similar state when she realized that many pictures in her scrapbook were ruined. I was so tired that the result of the water did not hit me until the next morning when our insurance agent told us that we would have to move out of the house immediately.

The shock of that early morning is still as clear to me as if it were yesterday; I remember us huddling together, praying, and trying to figure the situation out. We brainstormed about what we could do. Ultimately, we decided to live in our garage during the days and stay in our friend’s basement at night. In those next few days, we pulled together to pack, clean, and move what we could before the professionals took over.

Our family became closer in those four months, relying on each other to get through. Looking back on that time, I realize how my family pulled together. If we had not had each other, we would have crumbled under the pressure. My family relied on each other when it counted. We made it—all because of the strength of our family.