By Carissa Douglas
It's crazy how a sick baby can completely turn your world upside down... It's even crazier when you have no control over the setting nor have the tools at hand to deal with said sick baby. We were at the Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto. It's really well attended, so very hard to get a spot as a vendor. We felt blessed to have a special connection to the lovely lady in charge of the vendors, Dorle, who has sadly now left this world. She was such a beautiful, dear soul and she took care of my husband and I who were accompanied by my seven year old daughter and my son, who was only nine months old at the time. Dorle told us to take our lunch break and all seemed well until IT happened.
I was feeding the baby some soup and he returned the gesture by spraying out the entire contents of his stomach, Exorcist style, all over my shirt. I felt so bad for him. He looked as stunned and appalled as I did. I made some silly, cover-up comment to the spectators surrounding us about how cute and unpredictable babies' spit up can be and then looked panic stricken into my husband's eyes. He took the baby from me. I had received the full share of vomit, so I excused myself and rushed to the bathroom. I could hear one of the volunteers reminding my husband that we'd have to get back to the booth within the next five minutes.
As I hurried, I could feel the oozy liquid penetrating each layer of my upper clothing and thought, "OMGosh! I have no change of clothes!" The smell was overpowering, and being that I was going to be selling and signing books, I realized that there was no way I would be able to simply try to clean it up a little and be on my way. I looked at my jacket (charcoal-grey navy style). It looked at me. Not really, but in that moment I felt like it did, beckoning me with a promise, "Come on. You know what you have to do. I'll never tell."
So I did it. I stripped off the layers of vomit-saturated clothing and put my jacket on, buttoned up as high as I could. I then washed my skin and used (don't judge me in my desperation) my deodorant, which was the only "pleasant smell inducer" in my purse, and painted it over every surface that had made contact with the vomit - I even smeared it on my neck and behind my ears for good measure. When I returned to our booth, my husband assured me the baby was doing well and then looked puzzled. "What did you do?" I whispered, "Nothing. Just found a temporary solution." He offered to take my coat. I jumped back, "NO!" I think he finally clued in and shot me a "REALLY?" look and then smiled.
For the rest of the rally, I signed books and discussed Sacraments and Christian virtue and all that good stuff with people, all the while praying no one would catch on to the fact that there really wasn't much separating my attire from that of a would-be flasher. Every once in awhile, I caught the faint smell of what had passed and hoped no one would assume the books were scratch and sniff - scratch here to smell the scent of a large family! The highlight was the Cardinal passing by me in a procession down our hall. I felt seriously under-dressed. But I WAS wearing the crown of motherhood, which somehow brought a sense of dignity to the event. The crown felt pretty thorny that day, but in my circles, that's a really good thing. Actually it's one of the best things you can wear.