The further we go along in this journey that is Life after Hudson, the more I have to work to justify where we are now to where I imagined we would be. And every once in a while, life serves up a little reminder to me: Live in the present moment, and don’t take anything for granted.
Sometimes these are profound reminders, and sometimes they are hilarious.
Last week, I went over to my dear friend’s house for lunch. She has a sweet little boy who is just over one year old, and when I arrived for our lunch date, he had just finished, as my friend put it, “eating an onion like it was an apple.”
Not more than 10 minutes after my arrival, my friend started to notice an aroma, her mom-senses in overdrive, catching the smell far before I could. And then it hit me.
CLOTH diaper explosion.
She took him to his room to deal with the situation, and a few moments pass before she calls to me, “Erica, can you come in here?”
I am hit with a wall of hot poop stink as I enter the room. It is a war zone of baby wipes, my friend a bit frazzled as she asks me to hold on to her son’s flailing arms so that he won’t put his own poop in his mouth. He is wailing, a fire engine siren of noise and fury at the indignity of his present situation, his lower half covered in excrement and his upper half confined while his mother uses baby wipe after baby wipe trying to clean up the mess.
“There’s poop on my hand!” she exclaimed at one point, intermittently gagging and wiping.
“Why is it so hot in here?” I have to ask, trying my best to breath slowly through my mouth but worried I might somehow taste the stink, which is intensified by the heat.
“I’m out of wipes! Erica, I’m out of wipes!” This is the peak of the crisis, and I race to the hallway to get a fresh pack out of their storage closet, fumble with the invisible plastic tab to open it.
Eventually we have to resort to carrying her screaming, poop-covered son into the bathroom and running the shower on him to finish the job.
“I’ll disinfect the shower later,” my friend says, out of breath and a bit disgusted.
We return to the scene of the crime to put some fresh clothes on her now clean son. “My husband would totally clean this up,” she says as we survey the wreckage, the filthy cloth diaper and a mountain of used baby wipes. “But I’m probably just going to throw it away.”
It is at this moment that I start to laugh. “I needed this,” I say between giggles. “I needed your son to s*** everywhere today, just to put my life in a little bit of perspective.”
That stinky baby poop, my friend in a panic trying to prevent any of it from getting in her baby’s mouth, the whole hellish and hilarious scene, reminded me to appreciate what I have right now.
I have romanticized the whole business of babies since Hudson died. No midnight wake-up calls, no diaper blow outs, no ill-timed spit ups… I think how much I wish I was experiencing that stuff and I think, “I will appreciate it when I experience it.” And I will. I will love that scene when it is replayed with me and my husband and our own poop-covered child. But for now, we don’t have a poop-covered child to clean up, and we won’t for a while, and you know what… that wall of hot poop stink reminded me that not everything with babies is miraculous and lovely. Sometimes, it is downright disgusting. And I have to be honest, I thought as my friend dry-heaved over her son’s poopy diaper, that I was glad I wasn’t the one with poop on my hands in that moment.
Babies are beautiful and amazing and miraculous and lovely. And so is life. But sometimes, babies shit on you.
And sometimes, so does life.
What makes life beautiful most of the time is the perspective you chose to have. Life serves up a few amazing things, a few shitty things, and the in between is what you make it.
So I might as well make the most of this in between time – take advantage of the ability to wear white, the occasional date night with my husband, the glass of wine on a Tuesday night – because even though this life is empty without Hudson, this life is ours, and I won’t take it for granted.