If you use our bathroom, the fresh cloud of cleaning products lingering in the air may give you the impression we are civilized people. The mirror is absent of toothpaste splatter, the porcelain throne gleaming. You may wonder how two adults and two small children sharing one bathroom can be so tidy.
The truth is, we're not. Our bathroom only looks like this when we expect guests.
Every other day our vanity is covered with grooming product smears, a few Hot Wheels, Barbie accessories, and sometimes an abandoned snack or two. There is a towel nearby, but most likely it's wet and hanging haphazardly, possibly in an attempt to make a break for the laundry room.
Our bathroom is a disaster, but I love sharing it with my family.
And I know what you're thinking, no one wants to share a bathroom with anyone, right? Especially not with two young kids.
I do agree, there are times when I find it to be a little too close for comfort.
Like when I'm relaxing in a bath, and suddenly one of my kids bursts through the door, drops their shorts and proceeds to have a casual chit chat with me while making a transaction, so to speak. Or when they decide to play bumper cars behind me, the moment I begin to brush my teeth or apply eyeliner.
It's true, these times can be challenging, but the tender times outweigh the disarray and interruptions. This bathroom is where our family bonds. It's where major boo-boos are healed and potty milestones celebrated. It's where we learn the most about life and each other.
Every morning as I put my pigtail skills to work on my 5-year-old, she enthusiastically dishes out the headlines of the kindergarten world.
"The boys at school chased me and I don't like it," she complains. "My boyfriend tells them to stop."
"And yesterday, One boy knocked another boy's front teeth out with a Rubik's cube. I wish it were me!"
"You want your teeth knocked out?"
"Then the Tooth Fairy will come."
The stories are all over the place, but captivating nonetheless. And I do my best to fill in the blanks for her by answering all of her existential shower thoughts.
"Who was the first person ever born? How did the dinosaurs die? If something isn't a color, does it even exist?"
Privacy may be a hot commodity in our little bathroom, but much like the public baths of ancient Rome, this is where we gather to catch up with one another. It's where my husband and I hold our parent meetings to discuss the agenda for the day, get updates on the craziest things we've caught our children doing, and maybe share an inappropriate meme or two.
This bathroom is also our sanctuary for when life crumbles in on us. Yes, a lot of hugs have been doled out here, a lot of tears wiped dry.
And while I watch my children splash around in the bathtub, I often reflect on how quickly our family is growing up. I can literally see it in the reflection of our mirror. And I'm not just talking about my wrinkles and grey hair. It's becoming clear that my children are no longer babies. They no longer need the little wooden stool to help them reach the faucet. The plump little faces looking back at me are more defined now. Two little people who look very familiar. They have styles of their own now too.
It's true that this meeting place of ours has hideous, olive green walls. The limp rug is often strewn to the corner from the frequent ins and outs throughout our busy day, and fancy soaps and potpourri are nonexistent here.
But for now, while my children are still young, I'll tolerate the dirty clothes left on the floor, the stray hairs and toothpaste smears. I'll enjoy these touching moments we share in this bathroom.