Sitting on the edge of a bathtub, holding the hand of a four-year-old girl who was desperately trying to poop, I still remember nearly six years later thinking, “Is this fatherhood?”
I was a blackbelt in judo. A military veteran. I’d been a journalist for years. I was a leader. Tough. And here I was trying to help a little girl use the bathroom.
Background on the, well, poop
My three daughters came to us through child services. They were related and had been removed from their parents and placed with us. After several years, we adopted them making it official, though I became their dad far before.
When the girls (three of them!) came to live with us, the twins had just turned four. At four, they were not potty trained and still wore diapers. Furthermore, they had significant issues with withholding their poop.
They just wouldn’t let it out!
And it was a problem.
So there we were
She wouldn’t go. She needed to. Some had “slipped out” and soiled her panties (we were trying hard to get them potty trained). Even with MiraLAX, going was, in a word, a chore.
And I’m sitting in the bathroom, holding this little girl’s hand because it is painful for her to use the bathroom, but she desperately needed to go.
But … she’s pooping.
First Timothy 5:8 states, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
What does that mean? Certainly, providing food, clothing, and shelter is a part of this, and I think a man can be proud to provide such things, but is there something more?
My daughter had food, clothing, and shelter, but she needed something more. I’m not sure what happened in the past, but she should have been potty trained. She shouldn’t have been soiling her panties on a daily basis. I suspect somewhere along the way, before she came to live with us, she somehow learned that pooping was bad.
I could have pumped her full of MiraLAX, given her a magazine, and sent her to the restroom. Maybe in the long run, she’d have bene fine. She’d have “grown out of it.”
Eventually she did. No issues today, nearly six years later.
It wasn’t that I provided a house or food or clothes. It was something emotional, something deeper.
And it was the first time I felt like a father.