“I caaaan’t…I’m too tired!”
“Yes you can! You’re being so brave! Com’on…just one more big push—I promise!”
There are moments in your life that you’ll never forget; ones that are so dramatic, so emotional, that they become permanently embedded in your memory. Like when your children are born.
Or that time when you spent an hour and a half in the bathroom with your bawling four-year-old, as you coached her through a successful and freakishly large bowel movement.
Unfortunately, the latter has become a commonplace occurrence in our house. I’m not sure if it’s hereditary or a lack of adequate fiber in her diet, but my daughter is on a once-every-five-days schedule. As a result, I’ve had to hone my plumbing abilities over the past couple of years.
If the plunger was a musical instrument, I’d be a virtuoso.
It was during this most recent bathroom marathon that I was reminded of this one time when I was around six or seven years old. My grandparents were babysitting my sisters and me, when I was struck with a terrible stomachache. Such abdominal pains were common with me, since I’d do everything in my power to put off going Number 2 for as long as possible. Of course, after about a week of squinching, I’d be more backed up than the DMV on a Saturday morning.
My grandmother, however, was a firm believer in maintaining a healthy bowel, and she was determined to end my suffering. She immediately took me to the bathroom and sat me on the “commode”, as she called it. Then, the devoted Catholic that she was, she knelt before me and began to pray the Rosary, beseeching the Almighty to help me “move my bowels.”
Despite my grandmother’s earnest pleas, an hour or so went by with no progress. Apparently the Good Lord had more pressing matters to attend to. But Grandma was resolute. While continuing to pray, she resorted to Plan B: the dreaded enema. I have no words to describe what happened next, so I’ll just leave it to your imagination. (You’re welcome.)
Another hour or so went by with more Rosaries and more enemas. By this time I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. But Grandma was steadfast in her mission. She said we were going to stay there as long as it took, no matter if we had to say a thousand Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
Finally, about three hours into the ordeal, Grandma’s prayers were answered. Sweaty and completely pooped, so to speak, I stumbled off to my bed. Although it was only 7 p.m., I slept straight through ’til 10 o’clock the next morning.
I didn’t say the Rosary or resort to Plan B with my daughter. But I did say a few prayers during the process. I even asked Grandma, wherever she was, to use her good standing with the Almighty and ask him to give my baby girl some assistance, as long as He wasn’t off saving some shipwrecked sailors, smiting the wicked, or helping Tim Tebow throw a touchdown.
It must have worked because not long afterward my little angel was relieved of her burden and bouncing around the house like a normal 4-year-old again.
Meanwhile I was back at work with the plunger, working my magic.