Never confide in your children. They are not like strangers on an airplane who you can divulge something personal to and know you will never see them again. My son Jack was 4 years old when I became pregnant again. He came along to my doctor’s appointments and listened to the baby heartbeat with me. We wanted to involve Jack with preparing for the new baby. After all we were about to de-throne him as our only child.
When we entered the OBGYN office they always told me the same thing: sign in here, go to the lobby bathroom and leave a urine sample, and then have a seat in the waiting room.This was a new doctor office to me. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Jack alone in the lobby.
I knew my son and he is usually not to be trusted with too much freedom. So he came with me to the one-person bathroom. I wrote my name on the plastic cup, filled it, and set it in a tray. He occupied himself by opening all the drawers and examining the abundant lady products. “Jack put that down, I promise you it is not a tube with candy inside.” We left and found a seat in the lobby to wait for my appointment to start.
The whole thing reminded me of when Jack was a toddler. Most days just the two of us were at home. If I left the room to go and use the bathroom he seemed to notice right away. I usually kept the door open so I could hear him in the other room. Soon I would hear the squish, squash of his little legs in diapers coming down the hall to find me. He would walk in the bathroom and spot me. Then every time, he would turn and close the door to the bathroom. He gave me a satisfied look that said, “See how I closed the door? Now we can have some privacy in here.” It was not my definition of privacy.
Jack and I continued our doctors visits. We listened to the heartbeat and watched the baby grow each month. At the end of my pregnancy we started to come weekly. We checked in and they gave me the “pee in the cup” talk and then sit in the lobby. We went in to the bathroom, but at 9 months, I couldn’t see over my giant belly. I was struggling to guess where to hold the tiny cup. And by the way, it seemed the cups were much smaller too. I tried to do my best, in regard to aiming, but I missed the cup. I reacted out loud, “Oh no! Yuck! I peed on my hand!?!” Jack erupted into laughter. He was doubled over. Potty humor, accidents, and the like were right up his alley. I cleaned up. We laughed and head out to the lobby.
A week later, was my next visit. This office had grown familiar to both of us by now. I decided he was ready to wait alone in the lobby. In fact, since we had started these appointments he had turned 5 years old. Yep he was ready. So after we checked in I said, “You can sit here in the lobby, I will be right back after I use that bathroom.” He nodded and sat down with his new freedom and independence.
As I walked away he looked happy among the other adults in the lobby and started messing up all the magazines. I head into the bathroom and began the jockey to pee in the tiny vessel. It was then I heard a loud voice outside my door. It was Jack. He yelled from the other side, “HEY MOM, DON’T PEE ON YOURSELF LIKE LAST TIME OKAY?” I considered the option of never leaving the small bathroom.
Maybe no one heard him Bellow? I left the privacy of the restroom. We went to sit in the lobby. People were grinning. People lowered their magazines to get a look at me. Clearly, they heard him. I was so embarrassed. Why did he have to remember that moment? That was private. He can’t remember where his coat is, where his shoes are, or anything that happened in preschool day after day.
On the drive home I started reflecting. Well, this wasn’t the first time something humbling happened as a parent, and I can bet it won’t be the last.
I had my baby later that week, little Zachary. And if that wasn’t joy enough, it also meant I didn’t have any more of those pre-natal office visits. Now I was the mama of two boys. Will there be many more embarrassing moments? Have I only seen the start of potty humor jokes? Will I ever have to explain what those mysterious items are in the ladies restroom? Yes, yes and yes.
Dear Lord, Thank you for my two sons. I am grateful for every day with them. They make me laugh, they stretch me, and they put adventure into my days. Give me wisdom and strength to raise them into boys who love God, and men of good character. Amen