Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Smells and Solidarity

In July, my parents were visiting my dad's parents, so that my parents were only a little over an hour away.

It was glorious.

Impromptu visits--four or five of them--gave me a little taste of what I've always wanted: my parents living in close proximity to our family. It was great to have them in our house, eating dinner with us, playing with our children and talking to us late at night.

But my dad did something on one of those visits, something so selfless, that I will never forget.

And it has to do with a toilet.

If you have been reading my blog for a year or so, and if you ever read my Facebook statuses, then it will be common knowledge to you that I have serious issues with the way two little boys (i.e., mine) use (abuse) bathrooms. Particularly mine.

There was this persistent smell. Like someone had peed on a piece of cardboard and then hid the piece in the wall. I'm sorry to describe something so gross, but I'd like you to understand the extent and grossness of The Smell. My parents knew that it bothered me. They heard my same refrain every time they visited: "So I've cleaned the boys' bathroom top-to-bottom, thoroughly and with powerful cleaners, and it still stinks...I'm sorry. Feel free to use the master bathroom."

Well, this last visit, my dad was on a mission. He wanted to help us with anything that needed helping-with. Shampoo the carpets? Done. Buy some food? Done. Carry something heavy to the garage? Done and done. Whatever it was, he did it. So on this night, I was reading to Jaxon and Reed as they fell asleep. And looking down the hallway, I realize that my dad is on his hands and knees, scrubbing around the toilet in the boys' bathroom. I walk in, almost panicked, and say, "Oh Dad, you don't have to do that! It's SO GROSS!" Everything short of "Please for the love of everything fragrant STOP!"

But he looked up, a huge smile on his face and said, "Hey, we're all in this together. I'm happy to do it." I asked softly, "Because you can't stand using that bathroom?" And he answered, "Not at all. Are you forgetting that your mother and I raised seven children?" And I understood that he wasn't doing this to make me feel bad--or even because he was just sick of it--he was doing it because he wanted to help me find a solution to a really annoying issue. He simply wanted to make my life a little easier.

I said sheepishly, "I'll let you, then, I guess...." And he thanked me. So what did I do? I tried not to cry. I know it might sound silly, but it struck me so. I understood that he really DOES have my back. He really does want to make things easier and he really does KNOW how hard the daily stuff of life can be.

"Dad, this is the equivalent of you washing my feet."
"I'm happy to do it."

Not only did my dad find the source of The Smell (people, unscrew your toilet lid from the bowl and look under those hinges....and I won't be offended if you DON'T thank me....), he removed the top shelf of the dishwasher so that we could wash the offending object (okay, I guess I'll just SAY OUT LOUD that we PUT THE TOILET SEAT IN THE DISHWASHER....) completely sparkling clean.

It's hard for me to ASK for help with some of the really gross aspects of my life, but I know I often need the help, and my dad's show of solidarity convinced me that the old proverb rings true--and might I add a twist? It takes a village to raise a child (and to make a little boys' bathroom smell good) .


Lara said...

You definitely have a wonderful dad.

I love when my parents visit because they are the same way. Sometimes it's easy to get offended at first because I think maybe they don't think i do it well enough on my own (so silly), but I have come to realize that they just love me and they love to help.

And seriously? Thanks for the toilet seat idea. I think I may just go buy a whole new one anyway, and see if that fixes the smell. It's bad, and I don't even have boys! (Well, one....)

Kristy said...

That is so sweet! The persistant bathroom smell is a hard one. The worst problem we had for a while was our over the toilet cupboard. I finally made Joey cut the legs off of it and mount it to the wall. Seriously. It was SO NASTY. There was urine soaked halfway up the composite board legs. I've also started pulling our towels and shower curtains out more often and washing them. that seems to help as well. Loved the post and the picture. He seems like a fabulous guy!

The Taylors said...

Im crying over you stinky boys bathroom... in a good way ;D xoxoxoxo

Marie Photographie said...

Awwwwww. That is the sweetest EVER!

Christy said...

Your dad IS pretty amazing. You are so blessed!

Kelly said...

That is a great story! I laughed, I (almost) cried, I was inspired! Now I know what I'm going to do with the rest of my summer vacation. :)

Liz said...

This is wonderful, Rae. I'm so glad you shared this. It made me cry in a very good way. I love you, and I hope I can be like Dad!!

camilla said...

oh man, this SO made me cry! I LOVE the picture of your dad. he is so happy and wonderful. I wish SO BAD. SO BAD that he was my dad. I read this, and cried, and just re-read it to john because he is amazing and wonderful and what every parent should be like.

Qait said...

Thanks for sharing, rae. When they visited us, I just felt so inspired to be like them! They're so selfless, so eager to serve.

Liz said...

Rae, did I tell you about how Dad fixed the handle on our oven when he visited in San Antonio? It had been broken a long time, and we just "made do," and sort of forgot about it. But it was SO nice to have it fixed, and for a while after he left, I'd just glance at the handle and get all verklempt. :) It was wonderful!

mandy said...

What a great example of Christ like love!! I am tearing up reading about your dad!
We miss you. We need to get together!!