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 SnuggleBunny, 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 long ears. I remember he never left my side. We did everything together, played, ate, slept… SnuggleBunny 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 arms 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 as 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. Snugglebunny is with me so we carry on playing the game we were in the middle of when I realised I was wet. Snugglebunny 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, while 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…
Snugglebunny 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 bunny 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?
I was dozing but it was getting warmer and more uncomfortable. I woke up and the sun was streaming through the little arched window in the attic and right into my eyes, it took me a few seconds to remember just where I was. Specks of dust flitted through the rays and appeared to dance, float and perform just for me, I searched around for my parents and my sister but alas, they were no longer with me. I was alone and back searching through mum’s carefully stored items from her life.
Because of the memory (dream) I’d just experienced my heart was sad. I’d been united with my family at a time when we were at our happiest and I was sorry to leave it behind. I really did have work to do and I had a wife of my own now. I shrugged my shoulders to myself, things hadn’t been going very well in that area, she wasn’t interested in me anymore and in truth, I couldn’t blame her, I was not the man she married. That fun, carefree spirit she loved had disappeared under the weight of responsibility, not just for her but the firm that I’d built up to support us.
I looked back across the attic to the boxes that held a lifetime of memories and was drawn once again to SnuggleBunny. I smiled as I remembered just what this old, stuffed animal had done for me. When I held him, he cheered me up – when I sucked on his ear, he pacified me – when we slept together, he reassured me that the world was safe. I picked him up…
“OK my little trooper…” it was daddy lifting me onto his shoulders, “hold on tight.” And he galloped with me riding high around the garden.
I was giggling and enjoying myself as he ‘jumped’ imaginary hurdles and made noises of horse’s hooves and whinnying. In the background I could hear Emily playing with her favourite toy… a teddy that squeaked. She was sat in the shade and like me, wore only a diaper, it was far too hot to be covered in clothes.
Mommy turned on the garden sprinkler and I went off to play in that, jumping in and out of its gentle wafting flow. At certain angles daddy showed me what a rainbow was and I was engrossed in trying to reach and touch it. SnuggleBunny joined me as I skipped over the spray getting a cooling soak but by the time I had grown tired of this little game my diaper was hanging down to my knees.
“Oh-Oh,” Mommy said, “we should have taken him out of that first and let him run around naked… oh well, too late now but I think he needs to get out of that sagging thing.”
At the back of my mind I knew there was something really important I should be doing… but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what.
Something to do with… no… can’t remember.
Daddy dried me as I dried Snuggles and pretty soon I was back in a fresh clean diaper that daddy packed me into and pinned tightly to my small frame.
That’s it. I’m supposed to be… erm… packing… something to do with… erm… diapers? No… packing… I’m not sure…
I made Snuggles a diaper out of a piece of cloth that I’d found next to Em, I suppose she’d been playing around with it at some point but now she was crawling around as mum pulled one of her toys on a string. Mummy found a pin and made sure that Snuggles was as tightly in his diaper as I was.
I hugged Snuggles as I followed daddy whilst he did a spot of gardening and telling me the names of the plants, which I thought I already knew. He pointed to a little bush and told me that it had been planted when I was born and that when I was older it would flower and remind me that mommy and daddy and Emily all loved me. He patted my padded bottom and told me how much he loved me now and he always would…
Older… that was it… older. I am older. I can’t be here. I’m not a child. I’m not a baby… I’m not…
Daddy ruffled my hair, then bent down and pretended to ruffle Snuggles’s hair… although he didn’t have any.
“OK sport, time to plant a bush for Emily. Do you want to help?” I nodded and held up Snuggles hoping that this indicated that he’d help as well. “Let’s dig a little hole.” He passed me a small implement and I began to prod the ground in an attempt to make a hole.
Dad was very encouraging and…
What am I doing? I can’t stay here… I have things to do (although it was becoming less and less clear as to what exactly that might be) I need to be… er… going… coming… digging…?
I was sat back on the blanket under the tree throwing Snuggles up into the air and catching him. His expression said he was enjoying this game immensely… and so was I. In fact, I was so happy and comfortable I never wanted to leave the garden. Mommy and daddy seemed so happy, Em was gurgling and smiling so I suppose she was happy and… if I had my way… we would always stay this way. I crawled between daddy’s legs and settled on his lap. “You OK champ?” he said as he blew raspberries against my bellybutton. I squealed with delight until he cuddled me as tightly as I cuddled Snuggles… I never wanted this to end.
Story written by Les Lea.
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