Love and Poop (and when both are overflowing)


The green neon numbers of the oven clock boasted 3:30 am. At least, I think they did. I hadn’t yet managed to successfully blink away all bleariness from my sleep-deprived eyes, so it’s possible I wasn’t seeing quite accurately. I guess I didn’t really care what time the kitchen clock told me it was — I was just annoyed that I was here and not in my bed. The quietness of the house seemed loud and obnoxious, and the dark emptiness of the living room yawned before me — not unlike the wide, lazy yawns that were now periodically interrupting my concentration.

With weary resolve, I leaned back over the open diaper and continued scraping the mushy – er – residue with a popsicle stick into an open container.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you wonder, How did I get here?

Yeah, that was me.

My son was dealing with some, um, tummy troubles, and the doctor wanted to run some tests to check for infection. Hence my early morning activities.

It’s funny how time changes you. If you’d gone back a few years and asked 2010 Mary to engage in the vomit-inducing activity that 2016 Mary was doing, well — you’d probably get a blank stare and possibly even some dry-heaving to go along with it (2010 Mary was always a little squeamish).

In fact, there are many things I find I’m willing to do now that would never have crossed my mind even just a few years ago.

We all know that being “in love” makes you do funny things. It makes you walk around with a goofy grin on your face, sing louder, laugh harder, and speak softer. It makes you bend over backwards to make someone else feel good and, in return, make yourself feel good.

Yes, it makes you do funny things.

But there’s a different kind of love that makes us do ridiculous, even nonsensical things. Things that defy reason or even our sense of self-love or personal comfort.

It leads you to stay up all night holding your daughter’s hair while she empties the contents of her stomach into the toilet. Or maybe it leads you to scrub gunk from the kitchen sink or pluck hairballs from the drain. It might lead you to say, “no” to the job of your dreams in order to protect your family’s stability. It leads you to forgive your loved one for his deep, scarring betrayal. To sacrifice your material things in order to adopt a new child into your family. To speak up when self-preservation demands you stay silent.

And yes, it could lead you to gather the remnants of dirty diapers in the wee hours of the morning.

Throughout my short life experience, I’m finding that my best moments are not when my acts of love come naturally or with ease. Rather, my deepest, most memorable and relationship defining moments are when I love others when it’s hard. Or uncomfortable, or painful, or awkward…

…or perhaps stinky.

And you know what? The stinky moments make the “smell-good” moments that much more wonderful and refreshing.


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