This is a submission in our monthly contest. November’s theme is Gratitude. Enter your own here!
I don’t know about you, but my kids like to follow me all over the house. I’ll descend into the basement to change my shirt – only planning to be gone for seconds, mind you – and my daughter will follow me. “Dad, whatcha doin’?” she asks, slowly making her way down the steps.
I shake my head while rifling through the laundry in search of my favorite shirt. “Just changing my clothes, babe. Be right up.” But it’s not enough to keep her at bay. She’s already halfway down – she’s coming down. It’s cute, but it’s clingy. She just saw me. We just talked. She just had to follow me. Whether it’s a kitchen inquiry as to what I’m about to eat, or while I’m in the garage looking for a wrench, she follows.
Even the shower is no longer a safe haven. When I really want to be alone, I’ll lock the door. No question. But when your home has a single bathroom, you’ll be met with groans of disappointment. Inevitably, someone will need to get in there while you’re lathering up with the Zest – so unlocked is best. But they may move your towel. In fact, someone will move it, and it may be damp by the time your shower concludes. Yes, damp. Draw your own conclusions. I prefer a dry towel for my post-shower routine, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect said towel to remain within arm’s length. However, there are no guarantees – one cannot assume anything with children in the equation. There wasn’t water on the floor a minute ago either, but now there’s a pool. Why is the liquid soap dispenser behind the toilet? I don’t remember the Charmin being down to a single square, either. Strange. What is happening on the other side of this curtain? I just want a simple shower. “Well, they found me in here,” I think to myself. “I had three solid minutes before they found me. Where to next?” It doesn’t matter. They’ll follow. They’ll cling.
As I’m showering today, though, I realize that there will come a time when the kids will no longer linger. There will come a time when they no longer shadow my every move. There will come a time when the bathroom door no longer flies open during dad’s shower. There will come a time where the pitter patter of little feet heading for the toilet can no longer be heard, and the ensuing fear of that dreaded during-the-shower flush will fade with it. A time when no one will pull back the edge of the shower curtain and giggle at the sight of dad’s rear end. A time when no one will pose unusual questions or provide colorful commentary while perched atop the commode.
And when that day finally comes, when the interruptions finally cease – I’ll long for each of those moments, especially for the sound of those little footsteps that used to follow close behind.