So can I admit that I loved diapers? Really.
It started with a short lived attempt with Emily, but turned into a serious effort with Perry as money became tight. My first set was left over from Emily, but the diapers that started it all were a gift from the cloth obsessed Mommas in my Sunday school class. My favorite was a little cow diaper and soon I found that I started looking forward to changing him. It turned a chore into something kind of fun, we each had our favorites. Emily loved a monkey diaper with pink hearts (never assume the Chinese definition of gender neutral really applies), Dad was partial to the cow, and I sort of alternated between the cow and a giraffe print. This was a blessing as the little guy could easily go through 18-20 diapers a day.
I bought legwarmers to coordinate with his shirts and diapers, and my Mom was about to start on a pair of monster pants to go over his fluffy butt as winter approached. She was already cranking out warmer legwarmers designed specially for his long legs. I remember sitting in a chair with Perry playing on the floor as I stuffed his diapers for the next day.
When Perry died my husband was crushed they didn't let him change him. I can remember the shock and horror that morning as I went to open the drier and his diapers were all there waiting to be stuffed and worn. It hit me then that my life had changed horribly. Where was the little boy who cooed and smiled at me as I changed him?
When he was dressed for the last time we put him in his pumpkin hat, his favorite gymboree teddy overalls, and his camping button up shirt. My Mom had just finished a new pair of leggings for him, and we put these along with the monkey diaper on. I guess I had put so many of my favorite things in the bag for the funeral home that day I couldn't part with the cow or giraffe diaper. I wanted them.
When I go into Emily's room the diaper changing pad is still on her dresser, left the same as that day. The airplane and chimes I hung above are still there.... So many memories of him gurgling, smiling, kicking, as his free legs would deliberately kick the cloth diaper basket off the dresser. I remembered thinking about moving it at one point, but he seemed to be genuinely happy when he kicked the basket off. So I left it there and picked it up.... almost every time.
I worked on teaching him I love you in sign language while he laid there, and we often spent a long time afterwards 'talking' together and watching the baby in the mirror. Emily would join us.
How strange that such a routine act could be so important?
When I came home from the church after the ladies had cleaned our house, the diapers were put away in the wetbag and placed in the closet. At first it was disorienting, I wanted them. They were Perry's. I found them a little while later and noticed someone had neatly stacked them inside, sorting the inserts from the diapers. Neatly and with respect, not throw haphazardly inside. I thought that it might have been done by some of the hands of those women who had celebrated his impending birth, they had maybe been some who had given him the diapers. I wondered what they had thought as they put them in stacks. Did they feel sadness as they remembered him, or did they cry as they remembered there own children at this stage and contemplated the simple miracle of survival that we take for granted today?
There are simple tasks that we do everyday for our families. Maybe ones we dread. But they are blessings to our families and ourselves. You do not know what simple things in your life are blessings until your life is irreversibly altered. And you find yourself yearning to do them.