I remember the first diaper I ever changed. It was the day that my oldest daughter came to live with us. She was just 1 month old and I knew from the start that if given the opportunity to adopt her that I would do all that I could to be the best Daddy she could ever ask for.
After changing that first diaper I also knew that I never wanted to change another one ever again. It’s ridiculous that something so vile could spring forth from someone so precious. The odor assaulted by nostrils with such force that I had to talk my nose out of pressing charges.
I sat there, holding her little legs up with an opened diaper filled with baby feces under her, and I gagged. And gagged, And gagged. And gagged. Tears filled my eyes as my lovely wife and her sister laughed at my plight. But I persevered. I got the job done. And I got poop under my fingernails.
That was not something that they taught us during the classes we had to take to become foster/adoptive parents. They taught us about “the system” and how it worked. They taught us about the homes that some of the children come out of and the issues that some of them have after being placed into foster care. They taught us ways to show the children that they are safe, secure, and loved.
They did not teach us how to prevent poop from getting underneath our fingernails.
It would have been a good lesson for me because a little over two years after Noelle came to live with us, we brought three more babies into our home. For a while, my wife and I had four children in diapers. More babies means even more poop.
With that many diapers to change, I became quite adept at it. And I quickly learned that the secret to not gagging is not breathing. This also helped make me quicker at changing the little poop-making machines.
We finally got the last one potty-trained on the day after Thanksgiving, 2006. At that moment, I realized that I had been changing diapers for almost 5 years straight and finally I was going to have a break. It felt good. No more diaper changing assembly lines, no more baby wipes, no more smelly garbage cans. And no more poop under my fingernails.
The reprieve was short-lived.
Less than a year later, I found out that my wife was pregnant. We didn’t think it could happen, but it did. We were thrilled, excited, and elated. Even though it meant more diapers and more poop, we knew that this was a special, very undeserved blessing from the Lord.
Even if she doesn’t want to be called a blessing.
Mary Hope is 2 1/2 now and is so cuddly and sweet it almost makes you sick–in a good way. Her personality is blossoming and her vocabulary is growing. She’s a blessing, but don’t call her that unless you’re prepared for her an attack.
It started last week when I asked her if she knew she was a blessing. She screamed, “NOOOOOOO!” in the way that only babies can, sort of like a screech owl. I said, “Well, you are a blessing.” She screamed “NOOOOOOO!” again and this time she ran toward me, attacking my knee. Violently. She was going to get her very own set of brass knuckles for Christmas. Now, I’m not so sure.
What started last week is still going. Call her a blessing at your own peril. She’s Mary Hope–the Reluctant Blessing. She’s a blessing whether she wants to be labeled that way or not.
You are a blessing, too.
To at least one person, and probably to many more, you are a blessing. It may not seem this way and you may not know it, but someone’s life has been made better because of you. Even if you are in the midst of a period where you have grown hateful and cold, at some point in your life you provided someone with feelings of joy.
Your parents when they first held you. Your best friend who sat next to you on the bus. Your grandmother who adored you. That bullied kid you were kind to. Your spouse as you said “I do.” Your newborn baby who depended on you. Your friend during his dying moments.
You may be a blessing to an untold number of people even now. Or it may have been a while since you were a blessing to anyone. If this is the case, please know that you are still valuable and that there is time to change this.
You can be a blessing again.
Reach out. Show love. Be kind.
Don’t be a reluctant blessing, be an intentional one.
(Who’s been a blessing to you? Go ahead and share!)