Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bath (Life) Time!

I should have been born in a bath -- preferably in a warm bubble bath. No matter what, no matter where, no matter when, I need my bath every night. My bath feels as essential to me as food and air. My bath is my drug.

And I can measure my life in terms of memorable baths.

One of my first memories is bathing with my mother -- warm, secure, relaxed. We stopped bathing together when I was about 8 or 9, but even until shortly before her death we'd ask each other to "leave the water in," probably believing that somehow the water had magical binding properties that would somehow keep us connected.

When I was about 13, I was singing quietly in the tub... the back of my head (and my ears) under water, the faucet wide open and pouring what sounded like torrents of water into the tub. I was lost in my own underwater world, oblivious to my father's knocking on the door and his increasingly panicked calls, and it was only when I heard the crash that I opened my eyes and saw him standing above me, beet red and out of breath. He had literally crashed the door in when I didn't answer his calls, fearful that I was drowning. Of course, at 13 I was mortified at the thought of my father seeing me naked, and the yelling match that ensued that seemed so full of anger on both our parts was actually more relief on his part and more embarrassment on mine.

Four years later, at 17, my first love had broken up with me on the one year anniversary of our first kiss. I was to-the-core heartbroken, and although I've had quite a few long-term, serious relationships since then, I don't think I've ever felt as absolutely crushed and rejected as I did that night. My tears seemed unending and my sobs were no doubt dramatic. Not knowing how else to deal with the devastation, and in an effort to hide the depth of my despair from my family, I ran a bath to cover the sounds of my sobs. As I sat in the tub, the water -- and the tears -- kept coming. I must have run the faucet full blast and sobbed for well over an hour that night -- obviously wasting huge amounts of water, but what does a heart-broken teen care about that? Obviously I recovered, but I'll never forget the pain of my first broken heart, and when my kids have gone through something similar, I make sure they know that I truly believe the pain is absolutely REAL and not just "puppy love gone bad."

My baths have brought me warm, loving and beautiful memories, too. Nursing my babies in the bathtub, cradling their soft skin against my naked body, both of us enveloped by the warm bath water, both of us completely relaxed, both of us completely content was absolute bliss.

Later, when my daughters were toddlers and pre-schoolers, we'd continue to bathe together, often playing games like "beauty shop" in which my shampoo-laden hair would be "styled" for the "prince's ball at the palace." My personal favorite game was one in which my daughters would lather my back with soap and we'd play "guess what I'm drawing." I confess now that my hedonistic requests to "draw it again... I'm just not sure" were contrived efforts to get a longer back scratch... sneaky mom that I am!

During the crazy years when we had four kids under 5 1/2, just about all the regular routines I was used to in my life -- especially the ones that were selfish pleasures just for me -- went by the wayside. But my bath never did. I never, ever missed my nightly bath, even then.

And I never, ever miss it now. No matter how crazy the day, no matter how tired I am, no matter how late it is, I always have time for -- no, I always NEED -- my nightly bath. It is still my drug.

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1 comment:

Andrea said...

Bubble baths are great. I love the bubble bath from Bath and Body. A bath and good book is a great way to end a day!

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