It was June, 1994. It was hot outside, and I was bringing the car around to the front door of Centennial Medical Center. My wife was in a wheelchair and she was holding our brand new, beautiful baby daughter, Anya. I gingerly placed her in her car seat, placed it in the back seat, in the middle, facing backwards, the way you’re supposed to. I was nervous as I tightened the seatbelt, I felt like I might break her if I were too rough. I drove home very carefully, as if my tires were made out of blown glass and I was driving on a road made out of roofing nails. Don’t take that turn too sharp!! Slow down!!! “Ok, honey!”
When we got home we embarked on a journey that would last almost 17 years. It’ what every father dreads.
Well to say that I got good at it is an understatement. Not at first, however! When I tried to put Anya’s first diaper on, the nurses laughed out loud while I put it on sideways. No seriously, sideways! “Naw sweety, like this….” chortle, chortle, in a deep southern accent. Thanks mam….hrumph…
Oh but it wasn’t long until I was a pro. I mean I could change them in the front seat of the “Harden Family Church of Christ Van,” I could change them in the middle of night in a groggy, fog induced dead sleep, in the dark in 30 seconds flat! (I’ve only done that 7 or 8 thousand times!) I could change them at restaurants, at the beach, even on an airplane going 600 miles per hour. I had become a diaper changing maniac.
When I embarked on the road to parenting, I never really set out to change diapers for 17 years. This was a by product of having 6 kids. Six kids and actually planning on 1. (It was Maggie, our 5th, she was the only bundle of joy we planned on). We thought we were done having kids with Maggie, when one night Lor and I were in the car and she threw something at me…a pregnancy stick…positive…..as she was bawling…….it lodged in my eye……..actually that didn’t happen, that’s just what she fantasized would happen!
Our six child was the kind of child that, well let’s just say, if he were our first, he’d be an only child. Have another Rowan? Ha! I’ll do my own vasectomy, thank you! With a rusty steak knife!! With a scalpel made out of play dough! Let me describe him to you. Think of the tazmanian devil, after drinking a triple latte, in a giant pinball machine, and every time you hear the bell ring, that represents part of your house being destroyed. This is Rowan on a good day.
But boy is he cute!!! Which is probably why he’s still alive. He’s now 3.
And, trumpet fanfare please!!!…..he’s potty trained…..FINALLY!!!!! After 17 years!!! We have said that when this happens we are throwing a “Potty Party,” with the money that we will save from not buying diapers. Pampers stock plummeted this week! Shock runs through the Dow and Jones! Sam’s club called and asked why their revenues were down. “It’s done!!!”, I say, falling to my knees and weeping like a girl scout.
My beautiful daughter that I thought would break, is now a junior in high school. She drives. She knows everything! If you don’t believe her, ask her! For six and a half seconds, it looks like I’m gonna get ahead from my new found fortune of not buying diapers when Anya smiles at me and says, “you know papa, I’m looking at colleges!”
I’m gonna be paying for these kids until I’m in diapers….