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  • Nick Adkins

The Diaper - A Photo Essay

Recently, the drawer on our TV stand finally gave way to the miles of cord, numerous video game controllers, and occasional loose batteries. The stand is from Walmart and twelve-ish years old, but it can still bear the weight of a TV, so I fetched my toolbox. Upon removing the broken drawer, no easy feat thanks to some hidden latch for safety or something, I found two things. One, the unused diaper you see here. Two, a pile of fine, white powder, which I believed to be corn starch, but had it been in a ziplock baggy, it would have been suspect.

The diaper had been hiding for maybe eight years--our youngest is now ten. A flood of nostalgia rushed over me. I showed everyone in the house. Then I set it aside to put in a storage bin of cutesy drawings by the kids and other things I can't bear to get rid of or throw away. I thought about how wonderful it was having little ones in diapers around the house. Difficult, but the best time, I thought.

My wife found the diaper on the table and threw it away, without so much as lovingly rubbing it on her cheek. I protested. "Don't you ever think about having--"

"Nope." Nostalgia doesn't rush over Ashley. When it does strike, it's more like a quick splash, not unlike spit-up suddenly warm on your neck, running down your shirt collar.

An hour later, I was helping the ten year old through a fractions assignment, relearning the methods myself as I explained how to solve the problem. Ashley sat, listening to the eleven year old play an imperfect, but still lovely rendition of French Folk Song on the viola. My own nostalgia had receded and Ashley and I were again on the same level ground, happy to be right where we were.


Notes: 1) I am participating in an online class called Wonderhunt, which is described as, "A 21-day course to reawaken more wonder, peace and joy in your life." It has been quite good--you should check it out. Without going into too much detail, the idea is that each day, you take a photo related to that day's theme. The theme for October 8th was hide and seek, so I posted the photo of the diaper that had been hiding for all of eight years. I wrote this short essay in the comment field, not really meaning to write an essay, but that happens sometimes.

2) To be fair to Ashley, watching a 10 second video of the boys from the same time period that the diaper is from will have her sobbing. I don't think that would ever be enough for her to want to start back over, though. Also, she doesn't like keeping things we don't need.

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