Nobody enjoys potty training. Nobody.
I marvel at the little ones who successfully leave the diaper scene at the tender age of 2. I mean, I just don’t get that. Call me lazy, but my girls were looking 3 in the face before I even thought about the potty. Once we started, though, it was a quick and painless process.
With one exception.
Obviously, there were major differences between Kristen and my other two girls. Cognitive differences, sensory differences (although in the eighties, sensory wasn’t a “thing”). And autism. But Kristen wasn’t diagnosed with autism until she was an adult. Back then, autism wasn’t as much a spectrum as it was a standardized checklist. The fact that Kristen was compelled to perseverate behaviors (like throwing her Barbies back and forth across the room dozens of times a day), went ballistic when asked to change her routine, and obsessed over certain toys, went unrecognized.
So, consequently, my big girl of three, four, and then — yes, five — wanted nothing to do with that white porcelain chair. Her littlest sister Sarah almost won the race to permanently shed the diapers. But at the last possible moment, when I thought it would never happen and maybe we’d have to buy stock in Pampers, Kristen decided to surprise us all and presto! She was done with diapers. And only when she was good and ready, thank you very much.
At one time during this 2 1/2 year process, I’d lost all hope. I thought my girl would be running and playing in those pink diapers at the age of 30. And you know, maybe all our kids would be if we didn’t push, beg and cajole them to leave those mega expensive accoutrements behind.
It seems so silly now, 25 years later, to think how exasperated I got, and how I thought it would never be a reality. Part of me wonders, what was the big deal? Why wasn’t I more patient?
But then I remember how I felt. And I think about how I feel now, when I’m waiting. Could it be that in 5 years I’ll look back and think, What’s the big deal? Be patient! It’ll happen!
It’s good for me to remember how faithful God has been in the waiting. I can look back at our family’s timeline. Not so many years ago, we were five people crammed tight in a 2 bedroom, 980 square foot duplex, praying hard for God to provide another house. God allowed us to move to a four bedroom, 2000 square foot house, after 14 years of living in close quarters. We were so appreciative when the waiting was over! It was a sweet gift from God.
Maybe that’s why waiting is not such a bad thing. We’re so much more thankful than if we’d had our desires instantly filled. Kristen’s potty training was long in coming, but oh how sweet it was!
One of the sweetest endings to a long time of waiting happened this past Sunday. We had communion at church. Even though Kristen loves Jesus and has been baptized (another sweet story of waiting), she has always refused to take communion. She’s a picky eater, and she didn’t understand that the symbolism of communion outweighed the texture/taste of the elements. That’s always been fine with us — we get it. But Sunday was different. For the first time ever, Kristen took communion with us. She was so sweet as she bowed her head and prayed with us and took each element as we did. It brings tears to my eyes now, as it did then. That special moment was worth all the years of waiting. It reminds me, again, that God’s timing is perfect.