As soon as the first bite of food hits my lips, my daughter taps me on the leg and whispers in my ear, “Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.” The timing of that statement every single night at dinner is beyond coincidence. I smile at her as if to say, “Of course you do honey.”
I push back from the table, grab her little hand, and we walk to the front of the restaurant. As the door opens to the bathroom, we are flooded with sights and sounds that must all be pointed out AND commented on by my very observant child. There is paper on the floor and a bulb is blinking; the music is loud, it’s freezing in there, and it smells like fruit. “Which door should we go in?” she asks. “How about this one?” I answer. “No, let’s go in the big door” she replies. “Okay, honey, just go in” I said. “No, I want you to go in with me.” I stand inside the stall door as she prepares to sit down.
With her elbows on her knees and her hands on her chin, she begins to carry on a very LOUD conversation, sometimes with me and sometimes with herself, her tiny high-pitched voice bouncing around the room. Someone else enters the room and she says, “who is that Daddy?” I look at her with bulging eyes and quickly shake my head back and forth. “What?” she asks. “Nothing” I whisper.
She doesn’t understand….partly because she is three, and partly because she is a female. You see ladies, men have a very long and technical list of rules to follow upon entering a bathroom. I know it doesn’t make sense and it may even seem petty and immature….I didn’t make the rules, I just follow them. My daughter was breaking rule #1: You do not talk! This is followed very closely by the other rules: You don’t look around, you don’t make eye contact, you don’t stand particularly close to anyone else in the bathroom. When you enter the stall, you enter a guarded space, a quiet space; you certainly NEVER carry on a conversation with the person sitting in the stall next to you!
The gentleman enters the stall beside us, and I see my daughter staring at his shoes. I raise my finger in the shhhhh position, but it is too late. “Who is that?” she asks. “I don’t know honey, are you done?” “I like his shoes” she says loudly. “Okay, are you done?” But she is not done, and she won’t be done for another 10 minutes. Someone else enters the bathroom and pulls on the handle to the door of our stall. Adeline, looks up with her mouth open, I reach out and put my hand over it. She pushes my hand away and yells, “Who’s there?”
I am dying inside.
“Be right out” I said. “I’m going poo poo” she informs him. At that point, having followed my brave daughter into the unknown world of talking in the bathroom, I start to laugh uncontrollably. “I’m done” she says with a smile. “Oh thank you” I reply.
We wash our hands and head back to the table, exhausted. As soon as we get back to our seats my Son says, “I have to go to the bathroom too!”. Before my Wife can even respond I shout, “I’ll take him!”
We walk back up to the bathroom….in silence….the way God made us.