The Sheer Splendidness of Sharing a Shower
How a Tub Full of Toys Filled This Shower Vagabond’s Heart With Not Only Happiness, But Foreboding
Recently my wife and I encountered an issue with the shower in our master bathroom which necessitated us using the kids’ bathroom to shower.
It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, as it requires several trips across the house to bring the various toiletries we need to practice proper hygiene. And inevitably a towel or some article of clothing is always forgotten, requiring a trip back across the house once more.
But since becoming a shower vagabond in my own home, I’ve had the opportunity to experience something I wouldn’t have otherwise — an unexpected epiphany that’s given me a new perspective.
The kids’ shower is not like my shower at all. Their shower is a tub/shower combo, and instead of containing such things as adult shampoos, conditioners, and razors, the kids’ shower contains fruity scented and tear-free soaps, big-wheeled monster trucks, and plastic boats.
Normally, the kids’ toys scattered throughout the house is a point of constant irritation. “Clean up this mess” and “clean up that mess” is a common pronouncement heard echoing throughout our house multiple times a day. Strangely though, I felt no such annoyance when I beheld the myriad of toys in the tub.
Why is this? Two reasons come to mind.
One is simply because I want to encourage my kids to feed their imaginations, and their bathtub is their own private oceanic playground where scuba divers with action grips fight giant squids, giant squids fight ferocious sharks, and all of them fight the mighty Mokele-mbembe.
The other reason I don’t mind the clutter of toys in their tub is more therapeutic.
You see, something special happens when a parent finds themselves alone behind a locked bathroom door. That space is a quiet, secluded oasis for much needed introspection, where clarity of thought can be attained for any mom or dad who can spare a few minutes to take advantage of such a remarkable refuge. But you would think a mess of bath toys would be a distraction and a source of visual chaos; and I would have thought the same thing, too, till I found myself standing there one evening gazing at their kaleidoscope of colorful toys.
In that brief moment of time, in the tranquility of that hallowed but humble room, those toys told a tale. Not the typical tale of untidy kids who don’t clean up after themselves, but a tale of greater meaning, a tale of greater purpose, and a tale of a frighteningly inevitable conclusion to life that I dread.
In that moment of stillness, as I beheld all those toys — evidences of a childhood filled with innocence, imagination, and wonder — I was instantly reminded that this chapter of my life is fleeting . . . quickly!
Those epic shark battles, submarine wars, and experiments to see how long one can hold their breath under water, will soon come to an end in this bathroom. Replaced instead with doilies for bowls of potpourri on the counter, safety handlebars in the shower, and medicated shampoos.
It will be a quiet house indeed. Void of the sounds of joyful laughter, wisecracking banter, and yes, even bickering. All signs of a lively, thriving family will have been replaced with deafening silence, occasionally punctuated with the tears of my wife and I longing to return to these very days when our kids were young, our bodies didn’t ache, and death wasn’t so near.
This silence will be the new norm, heralding the next chapter of my life, a future chapter that — in spite of how stressful times can be right now — I don’t look forward to. A chapter defined by my aging body’s continual deterioration, adult kids who are too busy raising their own families to visit their mom and dad, and my eventual final breath.
So for now, I shower with a smile, cherishing what it means to be surrounded by plastic fish, rubber dinosaurs, and watermelon shampoo. And in spite of the inevitable conclusion of my days here on earth, I’m comforted with the knowledge that — at least for the time being — I have the best life a man could ever ask for, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
J.L.Pattison is an author of two books, a husband to one wife, and a father to six beautiful blessings.