So, we move in five days. It’s happening. We are feasting on freezer food, giving away random crap from the loft, dousing the oven in questionable chemicals and… the photo wall has been dismantled. Oh yes. Our home is definitely, gradually, looking more and more like a house.
And this is sad.
But also happy.
Exciting, but also scary.
Basically, the whole process is like an emotional trampoline, and I think if I have to bounce on it one more time I might actually throw up! Whilst there are excited emails, texts and trips concerning our arrival, there is also the obvious and immediate sense of grief around departure. There are leaving meals, leaving drinks, leaving parties; final get-togethers, last visits… everything has an underlying theme and so every morsel comes with a free lump in the throat. Nice, nauseating nostalgia.
And… I’ll be honest (what else?!). I’m exhausted already. Emotionally, physically and even spiritually, exhausted. But I dare not say no to anything; because it’s probably the last time I’ll be asked.
Now. There’s a lot of things I could say about this. A lot of deep reflections that, believe me, I have had about the process of leaving. The worry and the fear around the unknown; the trust in God; the fact we should live every day as if it’s the last and treat each conversation as if it’s that precious too. I mean, the literary possibilities are abundant aren’t they?! However. Tonight, as I sat down to write with a brain full of mush and a heart full of far, far too much… I thought… sack it. The world is a dark and evil place. Today is election day and so tomorrow- if it comes- is bound to be miserable to boot. In these situations, what people really need is a laugh.
So… here is my gift to you.
(*As a disclaimer this post will be pure, graphic, toilet humour. If you don’t like that- or are one of those people who purport that girls only poo rose petals and kitten fur; I suggest you stop reading now. For some girls, you see, collect poo stories like brownie badges and are bold enough to tell the turdy tale. I am one such girl. You have been warned.)
So… where was I? Oh, yes. The back story.
At the start of this final Academic year, Husband started yet another placement at a local church. Given its locality, the kids and I committed to tagging along. Again. Initially, I was looking forward to it. However, in the first week, despite myself, I couldn’t help thinking… what’s the point?! As I chatted to yet another group of lovely, well-meaning parishioners, I suddenly felt exhausted. (I know: overused word. I have a thyroid problem, my doctor is aware!) But, come on. More small talk, with more people that I’ll only have to say goodbye to in another 6 months. Spare me! From this bitter little seed, I started to reflect and lament on the fact that really, it’s always going to be like this. That the problem with this line of work is that, while it requires your absolute investment in people; sooner or later, you will have to say goodbye and start again. And on and on it goes.
So, at the start of this year, I was absolutely, definitely, lamenting the temporary.
About the third Sunday in this new church, ten minutes before the service was due to start: I surveyed the room. The kids were playing nicely at the sides with some other kids, causing little trouble or mess. Everything was set up ready, and so Husband was chatting to the church warden; informally and completely in eye shot of the kids. So I took my chances. I did what normal human beings are able to do whenever the sensation takes them… I went to the loo.
Upon reaching the facility, I discovered that the only available cubicle contained a fair amount of unflushed paper and a decent dose of pre-wee too. Yuck. However, disgusting as it was, time was not on my side and I really needed to go! So. I lined the loo with paper, (as you do when you are overly precious about your perineum), and relieved my bladder in perfect peace. Result! Then, however; then I got cocky. I checked my phone (as I’m sure many other parents with poor hygiene do!), and figured I had a good five minutes to spare. So I read. I replied. I scrolled. I… Oops! Where did that come from?! (Don’t even pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!)
With a minute to spare, I got up and flushed.
Actual, literal crap.
I forgot about the unflushed pre-wee.
Not only did the loo not flush, it flooded.
The actual hit the proverbial.
I tried unblocking the loo with the toilet brush but the water was so deep that my fingers touched it. At which point the sudden memory of the pre-wee made me drop the brush like a burning baton and squeal in a high pitched whisper! Meanwhile, my surprise offenders bobbed around like minging, menacing hook-a-ducks; as I picked up the baton, squared my shoulders, cracked my neck and stabbed at them like a demented, determined pest controller.
Oh flipping turd…. now they’ve multiplied!!!!
I checked my phone again, (must disinfect later…). I am now five minutes late. The service will have started. Husband is going to kill me.
Oh, dear God, you have to help me! I can’t leave it like this!
Sorry, kid, you got yourself into this mess…
Right. I remember a friend told me (seriously, honestly, we have these conversations), about a similar situation in a youth group where she wrapped hers in paper and took it out to the bin!
And I think about it.
For a brief second it really, actually, genuinely, crosses my mind.
Until I once again remember the pre-wee and throw up a little bit in my mouth.
OK. New plan?
For a brief, real life moment I also now consider the cubicle next door. And the toilet brush. And whether I’d better fancy my chances at tennis or golf?!
This makes me laugh. Just a little bit.
Then no. No. No. No. No.
I know there’s nothing for it. I’m just going to have to leave it. Festering, feral and completely and utterly, unflushable.
I cover it with paper. Breathe. Attempt to look unflustered, and walk back into church. Which has well and truly started. Ten to fifteen minutes ago.
The Vicar acknowledges me with a sly smile, whilst the congregation all look round and stare; because Husband is sat right at the front, ready to do a reading, with one toddler round his neck and the other round his leg, glaring at me with an expression that can only be anywhere near accurately described as: “WTF?!”
With one look at my face, however, his melts into one of entertained recognition, because, after eight years of marriage, he knows.
I sit down next to him, take control of the toddlers and try to avoid looking at anyone else in the eye. Because they don’t know. Yet.
But I do. I know. I can’t unknow. And I know that at some point, some old dear will go to the loo during the service, and she’ll know too. And she’ll tell the church warden. Who will tell the Vicar. Who will have to inform the centre. Who will have to solve the problem. And, by the time my imagination has got this far, there’ll be any amount of stinking ‘other business’ at the next PCC meeting, where someone will just know that the trainee Vicar’s wife arrived fifteen minutes late and red in the face on the terrible morning of turd-gate.
And so I avoid speaking to anyone that week, and avoid the toilet the next.
As a couple of weeks pass and it is not mentioned, I begin to feel safe. Husband has been to a PCC meeting and the Any Other section was completely business-free. So, at the end of one service, under a false sense of security, I head back to the scene of the crime for an altogether more feminine purpose. Aiming for a quick change and go, I don’t beat around the bush this time.
However. No sooner have I perched upon my perineum protecting paper, when I hear her.
“Mummy I’m coming to get you!”
She’s in the corridor. I hurry. Accidentally drop my gear.
Oh, dear God, I hate this toilet.
“Mummy! Where are you?!”
She’s in the toilet block. So are a bunch of other people.
“Go and see Daddy!” I tell her. “I’ll be out in a minute!”
“No Mummy, I’m coming in!”
“No, you are not! I’m nearly finished, just wait there!” (Rummaging around my bag.)
“No, open the door!”
“I am not opening this door, just go and find daddy!”
“I’m coming! Look Mummy! I’m coming!”
Oh. My. Word. Before my eyes and between my legs, the toilet door begins to give birth to my eldest child. Surreal.
“Hey! Don’t do that! Get back!” I attempt to push her head back under… even more surreal.
Now she’s laughing. ” I’m coming to get you!”
This is like a horror movie.
She manages to get half her torso under the toilet door, then shouts, “Mummy I’m stuck!” (Oh man, this really is an action replay! Horrific.)
“OK! OK!” I give in and pull her out from under the door.
She stands up with the most triumphant, exuberant smile upon her face. And then drops it immediately to shout, at the top of her voice:
“MUMMY! Why are you wearing a nappy?!!!!”
At that point.
At that very moment.
I begin to appreciate what an absolute gift it is to move regularly, out of places in which you have no doubt embarrassed yourself beyond all you thought possible, and into spaces where nobody knows you!
Now that, my friend, is what you call a temporary perk.