Life’s very messy

Lessons from my baby daughter #14. 

Soak it up with Viva. Cue cheesy commercial music. Fade out.

I could have used a whole roll of Viva ultra absorbent paper towels last week. We were having a not-so-good day and I took Miss L to the park so we could both let off a little steam. We rolled in the grass, waved at all the dogs, ate a few pine cones (or at least Miss L did) and felt much better. When it was time to go I noticed a suspiciously nostril twitching smell coming from the vicinity of Miss L’s ruffle-bum panties.

Hindsight would be a much more wonderful thing if it had a voice and called out to you from the future saying, “Nooooooooo, don’t do it!” Hindsight said nothing and so I proceeded to change the nappy on the front seat of the car, parked at the beach. There was even a bin about 10 steps away, what could go wrong? Well, first it wasn’t your average poo, but a nice round, solid ball of disgustingness. It rolled straight out of that nappy and lodged itself between the leather seat and Miss L’s back. Then Miss L decided it would be fun to wiggle and the ball became a chunky smear on everything it touched. With a few panicked cries from me and some gurgling laughter from Miss Poo Bum, I managed to get the offending smear and the nappy (and a few dozen wipes) out of the car and dropped it on the road at my feet. A few dozen more wipes later I had my sweet smelling girl back and I stowed her away in her car seat. Then along came an elderly gentleman and his fluffy white dog. Before I could call out a warning that prissy little pooch had abandoned its owner in favour of an afternoon treat, right out of Miss L’s filthy nappy! I yelled. The gentleman yelled. The dog barked and Miss L joined in with a high pitched screech. The man looked at me like I was the worst kind of trash, rescued his precious dog and ran as fast as his arthritic legs could go.

Life’s very messy indeed.

I am feeling a certain kinship with the Virgin Mary this Christmas season. Not the virgin part, obviously, but the part where life didn’t go to plan. I can’t imagine it was her goal to end up pregnant and unmarried. Or to travel on the back of a donkey for more than a week at almost full term. Or finally end the journey only to find that there was no vacancy, anywhere. Or give birth in a barn with dirt and straw and poo and no midwife or doctor and finally lay her precious first born child in a feeding trough to sleep. It can’t have been anything like her plan at all.

Nothing about this year has gone to plan. We have had a lot of decisions taken out of our hands. We have had to choose between two bad options. We have had to make choices with outcomes we never would have accepted in the past. And, hardest of all, we have done it with a little one in tow and everyone watching over our shoulders.

Mary did not know how her story would turn out. She did not know that 30 odd years later she would be standing beneath a cross watching her son die a torturous death, bearing the weight of the world’s sins. She did not know that he would rise again three days later, leaving only an empty tomb as proof that he had ever existed. All she knew was that an angel had told her, “Do not be afraid. God is with you.”

My life is not nearly as messy as Mary’s but this Christmas, more than ever, I feel some of the pain in her mother’s heart. The thing is, we know the end of the story. The birth of that tiny baby in the middle of a messy barn would bring a message of peace and hope to a world filled with chaos. Our Heavenly Father holds us in the palm of His hands and there is no mess too big for Him to clean up.

Find peace in that this Christmas and don’t fear life in all its messy glory.


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