Little Man in the Men’s Room
by Shannon Popkin
Men’s rooms scare me. Not only do I avoid them at all costs, but I also keep my son out of them and have him come with me to the bathroom instead. This plan was working out fine until a first grade girl from his class entered and saw Cade washing his hands in the ladies’ room sink. He was horrified.
Once outside, he said, “Mommy, why can’t I just go to the boy’s bathroom! I’m not supposed to be in there!!” I explained that I want him to be safe, where no one can steal him! Of course, he thought this was ridiculous. And ultimately, I had to lift my ban on solo trips to the men’s room. But, based on what happened recently, I think Cade has absorbed some of my wariness.
Our extended family had gathered at a small, family owned restaurant to celebrate birthdays. It was a quiet evening, with only a handful of patrons besides our family. So it seemed reasonable to excuse Cade to the men’s room by himself. My husband said, “I’ll come and check on you in a minute if you’re not back.”
True to his word, Ken popped his head in, saw that Cade was in the bathroom’s only stall and waited outside.
For a long time.
Inside the bathroom, Cade was waiting too. A man had come in, and Cade had begun to fret that the man wanted to steal him. So he just stayed where he was, watching the man through the crack beside the door. He noticed that the man appeared to be looking at him too, which really creeped him out. Cade decided that he would wait behind the locked door as long as necessary.
He waited and waited, but the man never left! Finally, he remembered that Daddy was going to check on him. The thought that Daddy might even be right outside the bathroom helped Cade draw enough courage to open the door. But being suspicious of the man’s intentions, Cade flinched and ducked out of reach.
The man just stood there. Slowly, Cade straightened up and said, “Oh! I wasn't sure if you were gonna try and get me!"
The man said, "Oh, no … I wasn't going to get you. I was just waiting to use the bathroom."
Wouldn’t you like to hear that man’s version of this story?
Fear has a funny way of making it seem like everyone's trying to get us or our precious kids, doesn't it? Fear magnifies the risks and keeps us locked up. Remembering that God is just on the other side of life's door helps us to gather enough courage to come out of hiding.
Freelance writer Shannon Popkin enjoys speaking to MOPS groups. She and her husband have three kids ages 13, 11 and 8.