Conversations with Kids · Education · Family life · Growing Up New Hampshire · Mom is Doing Her Best

Grateful for Life’s Paper Towels

Before he passed away, Danny Bourassa, an old friend, left me the biggest roll of paper towels, like the BIGGEST, in our garage after we swapped houses two years ago.  We use them frequently as you can imagine life is filled with countless messy spills and accidents.  I don’t know how large the roll was when it was hung in the garage initially, but I remain eternally grateful for him having the foresight to leave it hanging for our family when we moved in.

We even refer to the roll as “Danny’s Roll” just to clarify the difference between those and regular paper towels which live under the bathroom sink or on our kitchen counter.  A seemingly endless roll of paper towels.  Endless because I know we’ve used a substantial number, yet the roll never seems to get smaller no matter their usage.  

There are the mornings when my tea thermos spills in my school backpack, and a pool of turquoise water forms on the floor in the morning chaos.  Why turquoise you ask?  There was a hardcover realistic fiction novel in the bottom of my bag I’ve been reading in short clips before doctor appointments or soccer practice.  Turquoise because the cover was bright turquoise and now a somewhat faded mint green, and the pages are wet– really wet.  But, Danny’s paper towels picked up the mess on the floor, and luckily my laptop remained dry.  Danny’s paper towels help with gardening mishaps in the garage, spilled milk (literal and figurative), and dog poop on the soles of our shoes and even sometimes on the souls of our hearts.  

 If only there were paper towels to fix the missing shingles on my roof, which our chimney sweeper Kevin kindly took pictures of and sent to me because he thought we should know.  How else would I know that the roof was missing large sections of shingles?  So while we are not able to use paper towels to wipe up the mess of our roof, it could always have been worse if we didn’t know about it until there was a major leak.

If only there were paper towels to fix my 11 year old Subaru with 155,000 miles on it because I love my car so much.  My mechanic Jarrett has told me for years that he would tell me when I needed to start thinking about a new or “new to me” vehicle.  That time came in the form of a phone conversation last night when he let me know that the problem was as big as I was worried it would be.  Although all the paper towels in the world can’t repair my car or buy me a new one without having a crazy car payment again, I’m grateful that I can trust Jarrett to be honest with me.  Having had his kids in school, he knows I’m a teacher without money to just throw away.  

If only there were paper towels to act as crystal balls to tell us what kind of car Geoff should look into next as his car is equally falling apart, and maybe we need a truck to deal with all his gear… or maybe a van so he doesn’t have to transfer so high up which is getting harder as we grow older.  Big enough for our family and adaptive gear but low enough on miles we don’t break the bank. Luckily, there are roof racks and bike racks and friends to help us figure out what we need and maybe some good luck in the used car department during a time when there don’t seem to be any used cars anywhere at all.  

If only there were paper towels to fix these Moms for Liberty NH and wipe their self righteous judgement right from the sneers on their faces.  Check out the Forbes article here for more information.   As if being a teacher isn’t hard enough these days, we have to deal with worrying if someone is going to try “to catch us” and send our name to the Department of Education, whose “efforts” will be rewarded with $500 from these Moms for Liberty NH.  Although there aren’t enough paper towels to make sense of that kind of nonsense, I am grateful to work in a school with teenagers who are mostly kind and thoughtful.  But I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if this is a vocation I will be able to see through to the end of my working career.  The number of friends I have trying to figure out what to be AFTER being a teacher breaks my educator’s heart as there is a lot life’s paper towels can’t clean up despite our best efforts.

How did he know? How could he possibly have known we would need so many paper towels? Paper towels clean up messes.  Even when there are not enough paper towels to erase Covid or fix ACLs on senior soccer players and ski racers their last year in high school, they come in the form of learning resilience and facing adversity head on. They also come in the form of encouraging texts and phone calls from friends and family and Facetime or Marco Polo videos for actual laughter.   We wish Danny’s paper towel stash could take care of everything, so we can continue to focus on and take care of the people in our lives we love.  But since life is really one big spill after another, we rely on all the ways our community helps us to clean up and make sense of one mess at a time. And when that fails, leaf blowing helps too. Thank you for being there– and for looking out for one another. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours, and we welcome your messes in our lives any day of the week.

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