Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Josiah in the Tub

My husband, Mark, does baths in our house. I can do them. I have done them. But, in our family, baths are Mark’s domain. When our children were babies, we knew that it would take some effort for our kids to see Daddy as an equal, capable parent given the fact that he was working outside of our home and I was around the children 24 hours a day. So, Mark became the King of the night. : ) Starting after dinner and going on til morning, he does the lion’s share of “hands-on” kid care and I regroup for the next day. It has worked out well for us in a lot of ways… and a little one with a scraped knee can take a kiss from mommy OR daddy to be miraculously healed.

The past few weeks have been a little crazy here and Mark and I have both had to step up and cover for one another’s normal daily tasks. My speaking has called me away for several nights in a row putting Mark on night AND day call in my absence. Mark has been swamped in meetings for the school board and our local youth baseball league So, it was due to this current craziness that I found myself juggling our four children through baths and showers just the other night. We have a tub/shower in the “kid’s bathroom” and a shower in the bathroom in our master bedroom. So, the cycle began… Elizabeth in the tub with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils to prepare her busy body for a night of rest… Benjamin in the shower coming up with a way to use a wash cloth to stop the water from draining… potentially causing a flood! Benjamin out, drain restored, Noah in. Elizabeth out, dried, hugged, tucked tightly in her bed and then Josiah in. I am grateful that the bathrooms are near one another making it easy to bop out of one bathroom and into the next. With Benjamin reading in bed, Elizabeth winding down, Noah fully reminded to use SOAP and SHAMPOO while showering, I finally sat down in the bathroom with Josiah. He had previously been scrubbed and was now just floating in lukewarm water, studying the wonder of bubbles up close. Completely entranced, he truly barely knew I was nearby and for several minutes, I had the opportunity to watch my youngest boy play, think, wonder and unwind.

We are people who seek balance but we rarely get it right. Truth be told, many days our lives are too full and too busy and we spend far too much time running through this thing to get ourselves to whatever might be next. With a house full of four children, Mark and I are called to the juggling and to the corralling more often than we are left to find ourselves with a minute to just sit and watch. But, on this night, full as it was, I found one of those minutes and sat to revel in the chance to look lovingly on my son and fight all the urges to rush upward and onward again.

Josiah, in the tub, had a funnel turned pointy side up. He would quickly push the funnel into the water, sending bubbles rushing out the top like a baby soap scented, benign volcano. More bubbles to watch… and time ticking by. Josiah sang a little then… not so much for me as in spite of me. He acted out his spontaneous tune and his arms went high above his head in some movement of praise. He sang to God, about God and because of God and I got to watch. When he was done and he looked my way, I asked him if he was ready to get out and he calmly nodded his head. I was ready with jammies and a nice warm towel and he climbed right out… and then hesitated.

“Momma, can I please watch the swirl?”

Momentarily confused about the meaning of these words, I glanced at my watch and thought briefly about bedtime. And then, there stood my son… waiting for my word. Understanding, and remembering my own childhood, I nodded and smiled and his face lit up as he climbed back into that now tepid bath and settled down for the highlight of his night.

The drain was out and the water was rushing headlong out of the tub. Josiah lay down on his belly, face hovering above the drain and then gently began to swirl the water around, in hopes of jump starting the liquid tornado that was now the center of his world.

I sat back down and just watched. I watched my son at peace and at play and a host of thoughts and memories washed quickly over me. I marveled at the perfection of him… and thanked God that he is as healthy and strong and smart as he is. Please understand, I am not singing the praises of my child… But, this child has had a different road than many. This child, my final pregnancy, is the only one of my children who underwent prenatal testing. This child held a higher than average chance of having Down Syndrome, according to the doctor running the test. This child, born without Down Syndrome, was born with an arm that hung limply at his side from a birth that was harder than any of us could have prepared for at the time. This 5 year old in the bathtub, with two arms that now work and can be raised in praise, is that same child. And that, to me, is a miracle.

Josiah watched the swirl and I watched him. When he was done and the minutes were well spent, I dried him off and snuggled him into his fleece pajamas made warm in that steamy room. I combed his hair and kissed his nose and was thankful for a minute to focus on just one child in the midst of parenting four.

The time I spent in the bathroom with Josiah was less than 10 minutes but I lived a lifetime in that time. At the end of night, I was still tired. My house was a mess and my kids spent too much time talking in their beds before finally falling asleep. But, at least for that one night, I saw it all from a different perspective. I get distracted sometimes and forget what is important. I sometimes think that organization and manners matter more than sitting and watching and finding a quiet place to remember how it all began… because they all have stories… all my kids have stories and journeys and heartaches that have made them who they are. I want to store them up, these past experiences and struggles… but I do not want to leave them sealed up in a faraway place. I want to have access to them so I don’t forget to stop and see how far we have come and how wonderful… no, “WONDER-FULL”, it really, really is.

Mark is the one who does bath time… but if he sometimes has a meeting and must be called away, maybe that is not such a bad thing after all. : )


Van Dykes said...

Nadia: I love bath time - it used to my husbands task, too, until he and Quinn started doing dishes together after dinner and I felt it was time to switch. My Little Man has loved funnels since he was a wee babe, and the tub is his favorite place for them; he does the same move with his funnels as Josiah. He also would prefer to sit in the water as it goes down, watching the whirlpool and humming to himself. I got into the habit of making phone calls during his bath for a time - then realized that I was missing a great chance for him to have my full attention and for me to have him still. And wrinkly. We're on Blogger, too, so if you'd like, visit us sometime!
Love, Sarah

one hot momma said...

Thank you my friend...I needed that.

one hot momma said...

oh, by the's laure! Welcome to blogspot!

andrew,betsy,& noura said...

you have a blog too! Im glad to read to catch up on your cute (and getting too old) kids!