It’s been eleven years since we’ve wed and we have come to a pivotal point in our relationship whereby it is necessary to renegotiate the terms of our contract.
This morning, as I was pulling up my stockings, I let one slip. It was audible, and as I glanced at our bed, I was relieved that you had already gotten up to make yourself a cup of coffee. Our daughter, with headphones on and iPad in hand, was oblivious to my morning salute.
I grew up in a family where farts were, and still are, hilarious. I can clearly picture my grandpa, with his tanned skin and thick gray hair, asking in feigned innocence, “Who stepped on a frog?” His smile would always betray him.
My father has always been a fan of the old “pull my finger” trick. It delighted him so to simultaneously cut the cheese as one gave his pointer a tug. Long after we knew better, we reluctantly played along just to avoid disappointing him.
I know you find humor in human hydrogen bombs too. Remember the first time my mother had us over for dinner after we were engaged? She let one rip in the kitchen and gleefully announced, “Welcome to the family!” Just like that, you were christened.
Together, we laughed till we cried over a fart machine cleverly taped beneath a dining room chair at Thanksgiving or tucked between the sofa cushions in the first home we shared. Even the memory of a well-timed wind serves to amuse.
Still, despite the joy that flatulence has brought to my life, I have, for over a decade, tried my best to shield you from the gas I expel, with one exception: pregnancy.
In the nine months that my body was taken over, I lost all bodily control. I remember the night that I lumbered out of bed for the sixth or seventh time to go to the bathroom. While lowering my big belly and even bigger bottom, a toilet-bowl fart echoed through the night and roused you from your slumber. You–who have slept through earthquakes, screaming babies, and smoke detector alarms. There was a strange look on your face, a mix of horror and amusement, when you realized the source of the sound that woke you hadn’t come from your alarm clock, but rather from my back door.
A few weeks later, we found ourselves in the hospital giving birth to our first baby girl. She was so precious and tiny that it caught us off guard that very first night when we heard a man-fart erupt from our newborn daughter. We stared at each other in disbelief. How could something so small wallop with such gusto? Suddenly, those three trimesters of trouser coughs all made sense. It wasn’t me; it was her!
As soon as I resumed control of myself again, I quickly returned to the self-imposed prison I had created. For over a decade, I have clenched my cheeks, I have stepped outside to walk Donald, I have blamed my SBDs on the dogs.
Having children has filled our lives with music, and we have found their symphonies entertaining, yet despite the few times I accidentally joined the band, I have tried my best not to toot my own horn in your presence.
Yet knocking on 40’s door, things are starting to go. I see it in my skin. I feel it in my body. I smell it in the air. These days, I find myself losing control more and more, and it happens when I least expect it: pushing a shopping cart in the grocery store, bending over to tie my shoe, blow drying my hair.
I can no longer blame my butt burps on a baby, but I also can no longer keep my bombers at bay. It’s only a matter of time before I am one of those women in yoga who applauds her own downward dog.
And so, Dear Husband, as we enter a new stage of our relationship, one that you neither asked for nor can deny, please remember: If I blow you a kiss with my bum, it’s only because I love you.