Tag Archives: Parenthood

An ode to the family restroom

I’m sure those of you who are parents already have an idea where I’m going with this. Perhaps you’ve shared these feelings a time or two. For the rest of you, I too had no idea how essential the family restroom would be. Before Mac, I’m not sure I even noticed them. I mean, I’m sure I’d seen them before, but never appreciated the genius and necessity, that is the family restroom. I certainly never thought I’d be so appreciative of one to think to write an “Ode.”

Ode: noun \ˈōd\ a poem in which a person expresses a strong feeling of love or respect for someone or something. This is the definition straight out of my Webster’s dictionary, well, the online dictionary because let’s be serious. Although this isn’t exactly a poem in the traditional sense, I will be expressing some love and certainly respect for something.

Target. That’s right, we were back at Target. Probably the third time in a week, but not even close to my record of 7 times in four days right before the holidays. (Don’t even ask). My wife and I had just spent 30-45 minutes shopping together for groceries, baby food, diapers and other essentials when she announced she wanted to look at the women’s shoes. “Sounds good, Mac and I will take the cart and go look at books,” I responded.

We never made it. About to turn the corner into the book aisle, I noticed Mac’s face turn progressively into various shades of dark reds and purples, coupled with a few grunts. He was filling his pants, no doubt about it. Under normal circumstances I would continue shopping and worry about it later, but there was a smell. Not unusual of course, but it was getting increasingly potent. I glanced down to see if his diaper was visibly full and that’s when I saw it. He had a small wet spot on his jeans that was growing down his right leg. It seemed to double in size every second I stared at it. Immediately I rushed the cart to the front of the store. I located the shoe department, and when I found my wife, I said, “watch him! I’m running to the car to grab the diaper bag!”

After rescuing the diaper bag from the car I raced back in to find my wife already by the restrooms. Knowing full well that this was a two person job, we opted not to play Rock Paper Scissors to determine who gets to change him. I asked if they had a family restroom, which they did, but of course it was occupied. While we waited we assessed damage. My wife had already removed his sock and shoe to reveal his messy diaper had made its way all the way down his leg out the bottom of his jeans onto his sock and into his shoe.


By the time the family restroom door opened, I was holding a plastic bag under his foot to prevent his stinky mess from reaching he ground! When we actually got into the restroom to clean him up, all we could do was laugh. It was almost as though he missed the diaper entirely and shot everything right down the pant leg. Did that really just happen? Did anyone see us? But it didn’t matter. We were safe now, inside the comfort of the family restroom. We could take our time, use as many wipes as needed, and break out the change of clothes. The entire time our little man giggled hysterically on the changing table.

I am so thankful for family restroom that day. This would have been miserable for so many reasons if one of us had to use the individual male or female restrooms.


“I’m not so sure this story is doing me any favors with the ladies, Dad..” -Mac, unimpressed.


Church starts at 9AM on Sunday

I’ve heard this phrase for most of my adult life.  I say ‘adult life’ because before that, it wasn’t said as a reminder, it was assumed I was going. My parents made sure of that. As if I hadn’t heard this enough over the last 32 years, it increased to be every single week once my wife and I bought a house in St Louis Park, about 6 whole minutes drive from the church.  My parents have been lifelong participating members of the church community.  I had always joked with my mom that I spent so much time there from 0-18, that I had enough services saved up, I could afford to miss a few as an adult.  She didn’t find this as funny as I did.  My father has been in the choir as long as I can remember and was at one time the president of the congregation, and serves on various boards.  My mom seemingly spends every free moment of her time at the church, volunteering in some way.  When my mom brought my older brother to the 3-year-old Sunday School class at the church, he had a really hard time when she tried to leave the room.  The teacher at the time suggested that she stay, and she could help teach the class that day.  My brother is now 36, and my mom has been Teacher Carole, teaching the same 3-year-old class ever since.  She has had students in her 3-year-old class that have grown up and had their children in her class as well.  My hope is that our little man can participate in his grandma’s 3 year old class in a few short years.

I make mention of all of this because I feel it is important.  My parents both make a point to tell me every Saturday that church starts at 9AM on Sunday.  I feel like it is for a slightly different reason now.  I know that their wish is that we go every Sunday, like them, believe and feel all of the messages, like them and make it a point to serve our community, like them. Church is very important to my parents, and so are my wife, my son and myself.  I feel like the reason for the weekly reminder has changed.  When we go, it is obvious to me that my parents have a sense of pride when they introduce us. This is especially evident when they are showing everyone their new grandson.  And I feel this when members of the congregation comment to me about my son Mac. I feel like this is one of the many things that I have an increased understanding of now that I, myself, am a father.

Maybe I had missed the meaning of these reminders all along…

Mac and Daddy at Church.jpg

Mac and Daddy surprised Oma and Papa Paul at church this morning!