By Les Lea
It was a sad occasion. My mother had recently died and I was clearing out her home. In the attic were several boxes of her mementos but one had my name on it. It contained all my clothes, photos, albums and a host of things from my childhood going back as far as to when I was a baby. In fact, pride of place, at the top of the pile was SnuggleTeddy, my stuffed toy that went everywhere with me as a child.
It was a very strange emotion. I may well be a twenty-seven year-old adult but I hadn’t seen, or thought about it… well him actually… for over 20 years. However, with him sitting in the box, all cute and furry, I just wanted to pick him up and have a huge hug. Placed next to him, almost as if he was holding it in one of his paws, was a photograph of me – I must have been about 2 years-old at the time as I was still dressed in just my diapers, with my one year-old sister Emily sitting on the floor – and I was holding ‘Snuggles’ by one of his ears. I remember he never left my side. We did everything together, played, ate, slept… Snuggles and me… we were inseparable. When I hugged him I could feel him hugging me right back, it was as if he was welcoming me to a time I’d left far too soon.
We were very happy then when mommy and daddy… er… when… errrmm… whe… mommeeeee……….
“Mommeeeee,” I cried because I was wet. I could feel the dampness in my diaper and I suspect it must have been like that for some time as it was all cold and …
Hold on, this doesn’t seem right. I look down. Yes, I am wearing a diaper. A very soggy diaper and I’m guiltily chewing on Snuggles’ ear while I wait for mommy to come. Those ears are well soaked themselves with a couple of years of me sucking on them when I want to feel comforted and I…
No, no, no. What’s going on?
I can see I’m dressed like in the photograph but… ah… I must be dreaming. That’s it. I’ve just fallen asleep and I’m dreaming of my childhood.
Phew, I thought I was going mad for a moment then but… Dadddeeee.
“Come here my little wet Puppy,” He had his hands spread as wide as the smile on his face as I waddled over to him and let him wrap those strong arms around me. He pats my butt. “Mmm you are one wet little boy aren’t you? Let’s get you changed before you get a rash.”
He effortlessly picks me up and of course Snuggles comes along too, we are rarely separated as he carries me into… my nursery?
Hell, what is going on? How can I be so conscious of all this and yet… I’m a child, a toddler and my father has been dead since I was six. But, but, erm, it really is good to see him again. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed him every day of every year since he died and now… he’s here if only in my dreams.
I cry and hug tightly onto my father’s neck. I don’t want to let go. I have my daddy back. Oh God this is weird and wonderful all at the same time. In all those years I’ve never had an experience like this, where my father, my daddy, is so real and…
He lays me down on the counter and slowly unpins my diaper. “Who’s a soggy little tyke?” He smiles and tickles my tummy and I giggle and laugh and wriggle when he pulls the damp material away. As he wipes and powders me dry he’s making noises to keep me amused; blowing raspberries and counting my toes while singing a little rhyme. I love my daddy. I love my mommy as well but she isn’t here.
Oh no. As I lay wriggling on the counter I realise that both my parents are dead… yet here he is… my daddy, changing me like he used to do.
“There you are champ.” He says as he pulls up a pair of plastic pants over my diaper. “Let’s find you some pants” and goes over to the closet and gets my favourite shorts with the animals all over them.
Oh yes. I’d forgotten all about them. I wonder if mom kept them as well. They were nice.
Daddy pulls them over my diaper, pats my padded bottom and sends me out to play. Snuggles is with me so we carry on playing the game we were in the middle of when I realised I was wet. SnuggleTeddy is smiling. I’m smiling. I’m so happy.
It’s a lovely hot day outside. Emily is asleep in mommy’s arms as she sits lazing in the garden under the shade from a tree. Daddy is bringing out lemonade for us all and I rush over to join them on the blanket that has been set out. It’s covered in Em’s toys so I sit with Snuggles and, while my sister sleeps happily, play with her stuff whilst mommy and daddy chat quietly about their day.
I shake my head. I know this is ideal but, I really need to wake up and get on with clearing out the attic.
How can I think that when I’m busy playing. Snuggles thinks I’m being silly and I feel worried about… something… I’m not sure what…
I’m twenty-seven not two, although I am two. I look around and the voices in my head are screaming ‘WAKE UP’ in my twenty-seven year-old voice but look at me… I’m sitting in a diaper and plastic pants, drinking my juice from a bottle and hugging a stuffed animal that is…
SnuggleTeddy wants us to relax and enjoy the sunshine. Mommy is saying something to daddy about my diaper and that she should try and get me potty trained as soon as possible. I just play with Em’s toys and feel… happy.
STOP IT, stop it. Stop it. You have work, you have a business to run, you have a wife to get home to… that voice in my head is getting insistent but I snuggle my teddy and all is well. The warm sun, mommy and daddy, Em asleep and my stretching out on the blanket feeling dry and comfortable… why would I want to change anything?