I still remember the first bath. I was a brand new mom. He was a brand new person. I’m not sure which one was more afraid. I held a tiny, grunting bundle wiggling in my arms while mentally running through the essentials.
I had the temperature turtle ready, indicating the water was just right. I had the little bathtub in the kitchen sink, towel and washcloth ready and the soap…which I would later discover was out of reach. I was ready.
I found it terrifying to hold a wobbling head, still marked with newness and dependence on my trembling hand while trying to gently clean around teeny ears and fragile neck folds and between toes curled into a ball all while avoiding the terrifying umbilical stump.
Where exactly is the manual for such things?
We figured it all out and I looked into big, exploring eyes as they peeked out from an oversized towel wrapped loosely around his face. He looked up in silence, unable to fully express his thoughts, but with an expression as if to say, “We did it, Mommy!” I finally remembered to breathe and a small chuckle escaped. It was part relief and part exploding love.
I had no idea this would be the first of many bath face moments. I call it bath face because a small, round opening of the hooded towel creates a frame around long eyelashes still clumped with dampness and water droplets resting upon a petite nose and a safe, happy smile. Bath face.
Just as we really got the whole bath thing down, the little sink tub became too small. I packed it away and we started exploring the big bathtub. That began endless nights of splashing and singing bubble songs and discovering new water toys.
I made up a special song and each night I wrapped that great big towel around him and rocked and sang it. His face soaking in the love and responding with sleepy smiles.
A face that was changing so much from that first bath.
Before long we brought the little sink tub back out for another wiggling bundle. This time it wasn’t as scary for I had grown small confidence wings. I found myself staring into another beautiful face peeking out from the warm towel cocoon.
A routine that happens daily, yet the days are spinning by.
Now, bath time includes more bubbles than water. Big conversations fill the room. Silly made-up words inspire bursts of laughter.
As we talk, any bad parts of the day are trapped in bubbles and sent downstream creating more room for fun.
Each night I still look into big eyes full of wonder. Each night I take time to study the little faces looking up to me. Each night I see just a little more knowledge than the day before. I watch another day flowing down the drain. I soak it all in just a little longer knowing tomorrow they’ll be a little bigger, a little older.
Each night, I take time to wrap up the moment, holding it tight…knowing one day these days will end.