My daughter turns 16 years old today. Wow….. I am somewhat at a loss for words.
But, wait…. that never lasts long.
I was going to write all of these flowery things about parenthood and the glory of it… but I decided against it. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the first diaper I ever changed:
It was the day after I delivered. I was rested (for the first time in months), after getting an almost full night’s rest on my tummy (which is how I sleep). They brought her to me. I was all refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood (like it was an inbox full of paperwork). They were so excited and said, “She had her first bowel movement! So we wanted you to have the opportunity to change it!” I’m smiling like it’s Christmas morning.
(*Side note: I was also loaded on drugs from a rather difficult delivery. So, in hindsight, the fact that I was excited to see poop should have been my first clue that something was very wrong with this situation.)
They lay her down on the bed and I stand before her, looking like I am about to unwrap the present of my dreams. Should you be interested in knowing, a baby’s first bowel movement is described in the books as different from any other time in their life. …. But nothing could have prepared me.
I took her out of her blanket, undid the little diaper with the cute little bunnies on it, and saw a type of unspeakable horror that cannot be unseen. It. Was. Awful. I gasped and stood there, dumbfounded, while this sweet little child wiggled around below me. It didn’t make sense. How could something that…that… horrible come from this adorable little thing?
I must have looked like a truck was about to run over me. I was, incidentally, rooming with another woman who had just delivered her fifth child. She saw me, standing there, mouth agape, and came and stood next to me. She said, “Oh… first baby?” I think I nodded and stammered something about the smell. She said, “Let me help you.” And there you go. God sent me a sweet angel to change my baby’s first diaper.
Remember that, moms-and-dads-to-be. First diaper of their little lives = horror. I don’t care how stupid excited they are to bring the baby to you, it’s gross. And I think they laugh about it later. Like, “Hey… did you see her face?!?! She actually had to have someone *else* change the diaper!” I’m sure it’s a story they tell over cocktails at a party.
But…. all that aside…. she’s 16 now.
It has been a lot of ups and downs. Thinking back, I can say, with assurance, that we did things the best way we could. It has *not* been easy. But it has been wonderful. And my sweet little girl, who 16 years ago had the nastiest, smelliest, most horrifying thing come out of her, is a fantastic human being. And I love her.