I watched my son’s face as he changed his first really messy diaper for his newborn son—his first child. Only a few days old, my grandboy had taken the exercise seriously and had delivered an impressive load.
My husband and I were enjoying the moment, watching our son and his son together. The baby looked relieved and relaxed. My son did not.
I could tell this was a moment my son would never forget, nor would he look forward to repeating it any time soon.
Later, as we sat together with a sleeping baby nestled against my shoulder, we chatted with the new parents. Happy, but exhausted, we talked about the whirlwind that no first timers are ever prepared for.
“So I can’t do that again. It was all I could do not to lose my lunch.” My son looked at his wife.
“You’ll get used to it,” she said reassuringly.
“No, I won’t. I’m not kidding.”
He sounded pretty certain. It made me giggle. It’s just starting, I thought. And it’s not the worst mess you’ll have to deal with.
My husband glanced at our son. He looked serious. “You know, son, I had a personal poo rule when you and your brothers were babies.”
Oh yes! The poo rule! Couldn’t wait to see my son’s reaction to this tidbit of fatherly advice.
My son leaned forward, looking relieved. Aha! My dad’s going to bail me out here, get me off the hook! He had a poo rule – maybe we should make it a family tradition!
You could see the grin beginning to form on his face. “Tell me about it, Dad. How did it work?”
“Well, your mom was home with you all day and I missed out on some of the “firsts” — first smile, first time you rolled over, first crawl. It was tough hearing about it second hand. I watched that bond form between the two of you and I was a bit jealous at times.”
My son nodded. “Makes sense.”
“So I decided I would change every messy diaper I could,” he continued. “I wanted my face to be associated with the relief and comfort that comes when that baby was poo free – all cleaned up in a fresh diaper.”
Not the answer my son had hoped to hear.
I knew Ron had often stepped in to take over a messy diaper. At the time, I didn’t understand his motivation. It has come up with each of our other two sons as they became dads. I’m not sure they were convinced.
What my husband and I are convinced of is this: the poo rule doesn’t expire when they are potty trained. For parents, it’s a lifetime opportunity.
No matter how old they are, there will always be poo to deal with. It comes in new forms – bad decisions, difficult choices, or missed opportunities, but poo by any other name, is still poo. And it can be stinkier and more difficult to help clean up when they’re grown.
Ron’s theory is they’ll go back to those early days, remember the face that brought them comfort and help and seek it out once again. And they do.
Relief now comes in the form of conversation, brainstorming, and sometimes counsel. Poo detail has helped our sons through sticky situations, given them new insights, and brought them closer to their dad. It’s a guy thing. Sometimes, I’m jealous. But I know men learn to be dads from their own fathers. I’m grateful my boys have such a strong teacher.
Isn’t that what Father God does for us? He comforts. His Holy Spirit counsels. His Word instructs and He brings the relief that comes with His touch. Time in His presence leaves us feeling clean, refreshed.
And now each of my three sons has two sons themselves. That’s a lot of relief opportunities.
Who knew poo could be such a wonderful thing?