~ 16 years, 7 months and 3 days ~ That’s a long time to be changing diapers. Wet diapers, dirty diapers, saggy diapers, pull ups, swim diapers. You name it, I’ve changed it. Too many times to count. But for over 16 1/2 years now, we’ve never had a break from diapers. OK I take that back. To be exact, we had four months off from our poopy diaper days when Trevor day and night potty trained in a two day period before Ryan was born (yep, two days!). To be really honest, I don’t think much about how many diapers I’ve changed. It’s mechanical, routine, thoughtless. Just a part of my day as much as brushing my teeth or making breakfast is. But on days like today, I just want a break. I want to hear my kid yell “Mom! I need toilet paper!” I do not want to hear what I heard tonight – “Mom! Ryan pooped and it’s all over the door knob!” Yes, Ryan pooped and decided to scratch his rear which meant that as he tried repeatedly to wiggle the door knob and free the door so he could come upstairs, inevitably to tell me with his facial expression that he pooped, he got stinky, gross poop all over the wall, the door, the knob, my clothes, his clothes, my arm. It was just a blast. I wanted to burst into tears, but as I yelled at Trevor to run upstairs and grab some wipes, I found him instead running to the bathroom where he stood over the toilet repeatedly gagging from the sight of his brother’s unfortunate mishap. And I found myself saying mean things. Yelling at my innocent boy who certainly did not understand the mess he had made saying “stop scratching your a**!” and “knock it off Ryan! You have sh** everywhere”. And I yelled those things impatiently more than a few times. It didn’t help us get from messy to clean any faster. My choice of words were not nice things to yell at a boy who had no idea what he had done or why it is wrong to put your hand down your dirty diaper even if your butt does itch. Really, who can resist scratching an itchy rear? I hated having to pull my gagging child out of the bathroom to run upstairs for wipes so I could get the mess upstairs to the bathtub, ranting all the way how gross he was, how much poop I was getting all over me. My frustration bubbled out like a boiling pot of water. His big, cumbersome braces and shoes that give structure and security to weakened ankles and feet were in my way and the cause of even more grumbling. Yet he patiently looked around and waited for me to get him undressed, mess and all, as if he had not a care in the world. And as he happily sat criss cross in the tub enjoying the warm water flowing down his dirty arms, I crumbled into a hot mess of frustration and grief. My tears gave way to the unleashing of all things selfish. All I wanted was to see the last ten minutes of Love It Or List It. I wanted to know if the couple with the cute little boy and pregnant with twins was going to stay in the too small house or move to something new and bigger and a bit farther away from downtown than the husband desired. I wanted to see the new basement with its playroom and fancy, new bathroom. I wanted to know how the story ended. But I couldn’t. Because my poopy mess of innocence needed help to the tub. My 13 yr old needed to run from the stink and grossness of it all. And I simply sought to have my way. I wanted my ten minutes of the end of the story. I was mere minutes from running around the house preparing clothes for work and my morning trip to the gym. I was ready to sort pills and mix formula with the laxative and tidy the kitchen and find a snack and chat with Trevor. But I wanted it in my time. I wanted to be selfish. I wanted ten more minutes. And trying to get a poop covered 100 pound little boy who was clueless to his actions upstairs into the bathroom wasn’t a part of my Love It Or List It, get everything ready for tomorrow time line.
But life works that way. Plans fall apart. Events come crashing in and steal us away from our focus. Stink invades our sweet calm. Messy shreds apart our order. Ugly overpowers our control. But then grace shows up. Love pours out. Rational thoughts return. Calm is restored. Just like the warm, relaxing bath washed Ryan clean, God’s forgiveness and grace swept over me and brought renewed strength and focus.
Thankfully they don’t come often, but some days I simply don’t want to be the mom of a baby in a big boy body. I don’t want to change diapers and scrub hair and body parts during bath time. I don’t want to prepare food and organize pills. I don’t want to change clothes and put cumbersome braces on legs. I don’t want to constantly be on guard because of seizures and the lack of safety knowledge. But without poopy diapers and sweet innocent expressions of I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on, this wouldn’t be the life God called me to. It wouldn’t be my story. It wouldn’t be God’s story of provision and patience and peace. My mission isn’t about selfishness over trivial things that really don’t matter in the long haul. Will I really care if they loved it or listed it when I fall into bed at night? Instead, my mission is to give all the energy and love and devotion to my little ones, my husband. My mission is to accept with grace the life God has given me. My mission is to embrace the messy, stinky ugly with as much acceptance as I embrace the goodness with. If I have to change crinkly diapers over and over for the rest of Ryan’s days, I’ll do it with a servant’s heart because he is a gift. Because my ultimate mission is to glorify God in all things. But I still won’t like the poopy ones.