My little brother, Ryan, called me up to tell me a funny story.
He was standing at a urinal at a doctor’s office, you know, doing his business when he heard a female voice behind him.
He froze, mid-stream, in a panic that he was in the wrong restroom. But then he realized he was, in fact, standing at a urinal and he was where he should be. He turned around just in time to see a father usher his daughter into one of the stalls.
The daughter, it seems, was ill. She didn’t quite make it to the toilet before she unloaded the contents of her stomach onto the floor.
Ryan went to the sink to wash his hands and listened to the father console his daughter as she continued to throw up. Just as he was walking out of the restroom, my brother heard the father slip on the slimy floor and fall. Evidently he brought his daughter down with him and she let out a howl.
Ryan paused, conflicted. My brother is a certifiable germaphobe. But he is also a true humanitarian. He had to go back and see if they needed help.
He found them both still on the floor of the bathroom stall. He put on his most helpful face and said, “Hey Dude. You need help?”
“Naw.” The man replied. “I got it.”
And then the daughter barfed again in her father’s lap.
Having done his civic duty, my brother made a b-line for the door.
My brother isn’t married yet. He loves to laugh at people blundering down this road we all call parenthood. I can see the humor in it too. The whole thing really is ridiculous and quite absurd. You gotta laugh or you will cry.
But I see more to my brother’s story than just humor.
Here’s the thing. Love at it’s grandest, aint pretty. True love means that your happiness and well-being are contingent on another individuals well-being and happiness. And this translates into loving through sickness and strife and rebellion and all sorts of ugliness.
True love might land you in a public restroom with your sick child and a whole lot of barf. Or worse.
But for those of us who have lived through these kinds of events, we know that it is worth it. Because although it might sound cliché and even trite, love conquers all.
I really hope my brother does get married and have kids. He’s a good guy and he deserves such happiness. And I hope that when he is dealing with all the revolting mess that children bring, he is still laughing.
Because I will be.