The Bonds of Parenthood
I looked at my husband with horror and said, “Honey, there aren’t any changing stations in the bathrooms.”
It was a busy Friday night aboard the Cross Sound Ferry. We were going to see dear friends in Rhode Island — and the rest of the ship was bustling with people in every corner. There wasn’t an open table to be found in the main cabin, so the three of us made our way into the bar. Our son was seven months old and was in desperate need of a diaper change, and I had volunteered as tribute to take care of the deed. But there were no changing tables in any of the bathrooms — every available table space was occupied by families and various groups of people having dinner.
As I stood there, mentally contemplating what we would do with our son’s actual shit, the man sitting next to my husband looked at me and said, “No changing tables?! That’s ridiculous, change him here” — and he proceeded to move his belongings off the tiny bar table so we could do a poopie, messy diaper change right where he was eating dinner.
He was particularly gruff looking — a biker club jacket, a grizzly sort of beard, and what I thought was a permanent scowl across his face. And yet, when he saw our little guy, that scowl was instantly replaced with a smile.
He told us how he understood the stress of this age all too well and that even though it was stressful, it was his favorite thus far — and then he gestured to his two daughters sitting at the table next to him. For the next hour and a half, they smiled and cooed at our little guy, and we traded stories about parenthood as we cruised across the Long Island Sound.
The weekend was lovely and wonderful and everything one could hope for when you’re traveling with an infant, taking them to see old friends, and trying to drag two babies to a pumpkin patch.
When we arrived at the ferry, the crew instructed us to drive our car to a particular position on the boat, and we obliged. But when we got out of the car, we realized it would be a juggling act trying to get our baby out of his car seat and into the main cabin…