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For 18 years, I have fed, bathed, diaper-changed, dressed, brushed teeth, read books, put on snowboots, winter coats, hats and mitts, got into a car, out of a car, tied running shoes and played lots of ball with My Guy.  (To give credit where it’s due, so did my ex-husband and my current partner, but for several years on my own.)

I turned 50 in September and I realized I am just so tired of changing diapers.  Thirteen months for my oldest son, then a couple of years of double duty and then all the rest has been My Guy.  So basically for just shy of 20 years, I have changed diapers.  Of course, the older he has gotten and the foods have changed, so does the course of diaper-changing and cleaning.  Here in Winnipeg, I am most fortunate that diapers are paid for by our Provincial Government.  Back in Ontario (up to 5 1/2 years ago), I paid for them and was provided a nominal cheque twice a year from Easter Seals.

I truly cannot wait for a grandchild and a little girl would be amazing, but the thought of changing diapers without a break, well it’s daunting.  I sometimes think, I would take toilet-trained over speech.  Maybe not realistic, but 20 years of it, and I am just plain old sick n tired of diaper changing.

I could change all that.  I could request My Guy to go live in a group home or facility.  I could pass on my responsibilities to someone else and just visit him or have him visit us.  There are some people, even in My Guy’s family, who cannot understand why I didn’t move him off to a ‘home’ a decade ago.  They felt it was so unfair to my other son to have to live this way. (I’ll keep that for a different blog).

You see, I selfishly just can’t do it.  When My Guy is woken in the morning, we literally pull him by the legs off the side of the bed.  He’ll rub his eyes and then stares up at me/us and gives us the most amazing smile.  At bedtime, he can break out in a full belly laugh because we say “that’s absolutely ridiculous” and he finds that hysterically funny.  In a fleeting moment, he will sneak up beside me, bury his head into my long red hair and kiss me on the cheek tenderly.  He will impishly sneak into the kitchen while his brother is getting a pop from the fridge and knowingly steal their cookies.  He’ll lift his fist up for a fist bump and we will ‘whoo hooo’ him and he gives us the goofiest of grins.  Or he will allow me, hand-over-hand, to have him pet his golden retriever – Bishop or his border-collie mix Vegas and he looks at me beaming with pride.  

For those that have experienced, teenage boys (which is all I have known), you will understand when I say, having someone who is genuinely happy to go to high-school and smiling when his school bus arrives, My Guy is a huge source of my joy.  So for now, I’ll suck it up and change another diaper, just to be completely selfish and enjoy the joy My Guy can bring me each and every day.  For it isn’t too far in the near future, when I have to do what is right for him and provide him a new home where he can thrive and grow.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh – Vietnamese Monk

What brings you joy?