A few months ago I realized that each bath I shared with my youngest daughter might be the last. Approaching puberty, she was starting to become shy about her body and wanted more personal space.
Then suddenly it happened. Last night, for the first time in over ten years, I had a bath completely alone.
By alone I mean; no squirmy child jumping in, no daughter sitting on the toilet asking whether pubic hair comes in all at once or one at a time, no pulling elastics out of My Little Pony tails, no listening to French dictée, no one sitting on the edge and sticking her feet in to warm up, no locating a lost soccer jersey and no pretending to listen to complicated pre-teen story lines involving vampires and werewolves while getting in my views about stalking and abusive relationships.
No anxious child asking every five minutes if my 20 minutes of alone time was over yet so they could get in.
No one came in or asked for anything at all.
I’m really surprised to say I missed them.
I thought what I needed was quiet, my book, candles. Peace, after a day of counselling and supporting women who have experienced violence, rape, sexual abuse as children.
Now I realize, those times together were a healing balm. Wiggly, soapy, giggly daughters, comfortable with our bodies. Squishing bellies to pretend they were mouths talking. Hilarious fart bubbles. In the warm water, time slowed down.
We made up games where mermaids saved the Barbie’s and they all became pirates. Nobody lost her voice for the prince.
Imagining worlds and planting seeds with play.
An oasis of time when I wasn’t a moving target. Wiping, washing, folding, sorting, phoning, cooking, organizing. Mothers rarely just sit.
For those precious moments in time they had all of me.
I’m glad I soaked them in.
Check me out in the Purple Fig!