I generally try to keep my blog stories clean and wholesome for readers, but from time to time I have to deal with subjects that are best termed dirty stories. I hope no one is offended, but . . . here we go!
My grandson matriculated in an intensive three day long boot camp for learning to use the potty last week. His diapers were put in the garage, and be began wearing big boy underwear exclusively. He completed the course with flying colors, although he is still perfecting the timely expulsion of fecal matter.
We are watching him at our house, today; this happens each week on Tuesday. We pick him up at his house, then drive to Dunkin Donuts, eat a cinnamon raisin bagel, chat with the workers there, then drive to our house where he spends the remainder of the day. Of course, today we did not spend any time at the doughnut shop because we wanted to make sure he didn’t have an “accident” before we could get him to safe potty haven.
So far, he has performed admirably, and even called out to us not long after his nap began, saying, “I have to potty!” And potty he did. No accidents so far today. Bravo! He is awarded a sticker and a small cookie for each successful episode where the undies stay dry.
Of course, we make a big deal over his success. We even have a children’s book about using the potty; he can push a button on the front of the book and hear the sound of a toilet flushing and children laughing and enjoying the experience. What will they think of next?
Needless to say, he is proud of himself. He no longer wears “baby diapers,” and his physique has even noticeably improved: his derriere looks so slim and trim without that bulky diaper.
I don’t remember potty training, but I do remember wetting the bed a number of times. I’m sure my grandson will experience some setbacks in the future, too. But he has now successfully tackled one of his first hurdles in life, well on his way to becoming a functioning adult, right?
We all have to learn these lessons in life, don’t we? Don’t pick your nose in public. Don’t belch; but if you do so inadvertently, please say, “excuse me.” Don’t eat with your mouth open. The list is endless. Most of us follow these rules, and we find it difficult to be around folks who do not. It’s just “common decency,” we sometimes say.
Theoretically then, I suppose that by the time a person is 30, or 40, or 50, or 60 or more years old – they should have perfected themselves in an untold number of ways: socially, hygienically, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.
But often . . . that is not the case.
Many of us carry into adulthood any number of childish habits we have never given up; we foster attitudes which should have been discarded and replaced years before; we hold onto ways of dealing with others that seemed to work well when we were little children; we have ceased growing, maturing, and nurturing what is good, healthy, and right.
After potty training . . . we quit growing up!
You can easily see this in post offices and banks (at least that’s where I’ve seen it the most) where people are made to wait in lines. We loathe waiting, don’t we? Of course. But those who have never grown up are the ones you’ll find barking at the employees, trying to get privileges for themselves that no one else in line receives, and openly expressing their disgust at having to be detained in the course of their day.
What derails us in our growth as humans?
By the time we should be excellent human beings we are often anything but that! And sometimes this shows itself in old age the most. I am not speaking here of elderly people who have diseases which cause them to lose their emotional or mental abilities. In most cases, elderly incorrigibles were middle-aged incorrigibles, and young adult incorrigibles before that.
As my mother approached her final months and days she remained the gentle soul she had always been. She maintained a sense of respectability, decency, and propriety right up until her final breath. That is who she was. When she finished her formal education in school her learning did not stop. She continued to read, to write, to take classes in continuing education, to improve herself. She was not a perfect human being. But she read books of various kinds until her eyes failed her, and her strength failed her in the last week of her life – a life of 88 years.
Why do so many of us quit growing up?
Do we get tired of all the hard work? Is it that we reach a point in life where people no longer prod us along? Demands are seldom foisted upon us, and we are left to live as we please because no one wants to deal with us anymore?
Is that the way you want to be thought of as you grow older? Truly? Someone who must be dealt with?
I pray that I will not give myself license to be a pain in the butt when I am old. I hope I do not reach a time in life when I expect others to tolerate bad behavior in me just because I have given up doing the work necessary to have meaningful relationships. Even if I am forced to revert to wearing diapers again – because I have lost physical control of my bowels – I will not shirk on my responsibility to continue to engage amicably with others in this dance we call life.
I want to keep growing up . . . until I take my final breath.