When Nature Calls

The following tale will be featured in Adventures in Potty Training and Other Bathroom Mishaps, soon to be released. Okay, so the story is about my potty mishap and not my children’s, but I would rather embarrass myself than them — they are bigger than me now!

The highway rose steeply toward the crown of mist as I gripped the steering wheel, willing away the pressure building in my coffee-filled bladder. Sweat beaded my brow and upper lip as my urinary tract threatened to unleash a wave of hot yellow liquid.

I glared accusatorily into the rear view mirror at the slumbering tots, snug and secure in their car seats. They were the reason I was now suffering. This was the moment when my urethra would throw in the towel and say, “Screw it! First you abused me pushing out those two ham-headed kids, and now you expect me to hold back the floods with stretched out muscles and the sheer force of will power? I mean, come on!”

It was true, my poor bladder had been through a lot, and I was asking too much. Not only had my pregnancies done things to my body that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but I had chugged mugs of coffee that morning to keep me awake for our journey home. I had not anticipated the long stretch between rest stops on the highway. I had also not considered how desperate I would be to keep my kids asleep once they’d finally nodded off.

The visit with my parents in Abbotsford had been pleasant until the last night when the sleep that I had hoped for eluded me. I had been kept up most of the night tending to one child who was full of a cold, then my youngest who was restless from sleeping in a plastic playpen on a humid summer night. I almost regretted my decision to take a short trip alone with the kids and fantasized about getting home and napping while daddy spent some quality time with the two of them. So, I packed up the car, grabbed a quick breakfast, downed a pot of coffee, and wrestled my babies into their seats.

The long stretch over the mountainous Coquihalla Highway back to Alberta was only the first leg of the journey, and was proving to be the most difficult. My tired and irritable children had dozed off after fitful bouts of crying and whining and I couldn’t bear to wake them. They looked so angelic with their flushed little cheeks, and tousled curls. I almost resented their uninterrupted slumber, but couldn’t focus on much besides the ache in my groin area. I had to do something—and fast!

My frenzied mind ricocheted from thought to thought, and I tried desperately not to think of raging waterfalls, dripping taps and the satisfying flush of a toilet. One image popped into my head and gave me an inspiration. I almost wept with joy. Let me set the scene: A cool fall evening at the Commonwealth Stadium. The final quarter between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. An intense game that my husband and his friends knew they wouldn’t want to tear themselves away from so they planned ahead. A cooler full of beer, cushions, and adult diapers. Yes, that was not a typo . . . adult diapers. I remember being horrified when they told me that they would rather piss themselves than miss a play. I shuddered at the time to think of grown men voluntarily releasing urine into a diaper so they could enjoy another beer with their buddies and not have to leave the game . . . for any reason.

Now a shudder of relief went through me as I glanced over at the diaper bag on the passenger seat beside me. Could I?  Was it even possible?

If an idea pops into my head, and I think, “Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly!” I usually listen. But the twisted part of my brain that likes to one-up people yelled at me, “Oh, go on . . . you can do it! If those guys did it, why the hell can’t you! Don’t be such a girl!” Well, that did it! Now I had to prove a woman could do anything a man could do. And I had a perfectly valid reason for doing it—I didn’t want to wake my children.

I reached over and pulled out a diaper from the bag, laying it across my lap. Just in case. If I didn’t see another sign for a rest stop in the next few minutes, then I would have no choice. I casually unfolded the diaper while keeping my eyes on the road. Moms can do these kinds of things with one hand, blindfolded, and usually while standing on one foot and picking up dirty laundry with the other.

I deftly shoved the diaper between my legs after hitching up my skirt and scooching my panties down. That part was easy. The hard part was letting go of the social taboo of peeing outside—though the car surrounded me, it was still in public. Even with a bladder ready to burst, I fought the desire to relieve myself. Look, I thought, there is absolutely nowhere to stop and you cannot leave the kids in the car on the almost non-existent shoulder while you try and find a spot behind a bush. This is life or death. You might suffer an aneurysm while driving if you hold it in any longer.

My little pep talk worked and I went . . . and I couldn’t stop . . . even when I realized the tiny receptacle between my thighs would never be sufficient to hold the contents of my bladder. I panicked and grabbed for another diaper, shoving that one on top of the first. By the time I was done I had three heavily soaked diapers and I was crying with relief. I pulled out a plastic bag I had wedged in the door compartment beside me and carefully slipped the diapers into it and placed them on the floor. I somehow had managed to keep the car on the road. I know, looking back, it was ridiculous of me, but tired moms do dumb things sometimes.

I rearranged my clothes and smiled slyly into the rear view mirror. The kids were still asleep and no one would ever know. Until now—when I have apparently lost all sense of self-respect and decided to share this sordid tale with you, dear reader. But you won’t tell anyone, will you? And you especially won’t mention that five minutes after I answered nature’s call, I saw a huge sign for a pull-out with bathrooms and a parking lot full of well-adjusted parents who do not feel the need to outdo a bunch of diaper-wearing, drunk guys at a football game.

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