There is something really great about having a ring in the bathtub. Knowing that I’m going to be on my hands and knees scrubbing isn’t what I’m talking about. It’s what left the ring there that makes me smile.
The dirt and grime comes from a little boy playing with dump trucks in the sandbox, making mud pies and traveling a hundred miles racing toy cars on knees that stick out through holes in his jeans.
My son, like all boys, attracts dirt like a magnet and his day is filled with new and exciting ways to add a pound or more of dirt to every square inch of his body.
Bath time allows me to scrub away the fun he had that day of being rough and tumble and bring forth the sweet smelling innocence of youth. Bath time is a special time where we relax and slow down and talk about our day.
Even though he is growing right before my eyes, I can’t help but travel back in time in my mind to a tiny infant getting his first few baths. I have gone from the time where my gentle hands and a few drops of baby wash was all that was needed to me now contemplating getting a wire brush to get all that ground in dirt off of those knees.
As the water drains, what is left is a dark ring on the sides and a trail of sediment in the bottom. What went in as a screaming, filthy banshee, now comes out a clean, dripping wet, smiling little boy proudly showing off his wrinkly fingers.
As I wrap him in a towel, I drink in the sweet smell of freshly shampooed hair. It is one of the sweetest smells to a mom of a boy. Then I notice his ears with enough dirt still in them to grow potatoes.
Before I can even come close to those dirty ears, he breaks away in a damp, giggly dash to his room. He of course delights in me chasing him declaring that I’m going to beat him there this time.
As he dresses himself in his jammies, I admire his strong, muscular young physique. I wish had muscle tone like that! I watch with a smile as he gets dressed so fast. I remember with a tinge of sadness at the time going by so quickly and think back to when he was just learning to pull a shirt over his head.
My reminiscing is interrupted when I laugh at the funny sight of him running out of the room still struggling at pulling up his pants because he’s still damp from his bath. He can’t wait to have his little snack and snuggle on the couch with his dad and me as part of our nighttime routine. Oh how I wish I could just freeze this moment and be able to pull it out whenever I needed to.
A short time later I try and understand him when he talks as he attempts to tell me something important about his day while trying to brush his teeth at the same time. I think I got it all.
The bathroom is left in haste with a towel on the floor, toothpaste smeared on the sink and white spots splattered across the mirror. All the tell tale signs a little boy had been there.
He skips down the hall to his room where he heads straight to his books. I sigh as he brings me the same book we’ve read a thousand times. My attempt to convince him to pick another book for a change does nothing to change his one track mind. When he gets stuck on a book, it is all that will do till he gets hooked onto another book. I try and tell myself it’s OK, for when he’s grown up and gone I will long to re-read these little stories I’m sure.
As I sit down and open the worn book with tattered edges and scotch tape on the torn pages I notice the troubles and stresses of the day melt away as this little body crawls into my lap and snuggles in. My heart starts to get filled up again with love and peacefulness that the drain of life as a grown up can suck out of you.
I can’t help but notice all the little bruises on his legs look like blueberry stains. I notice the scrapes on his knobby knees and how the light from the lamp catches the highlights in his hair. All these little things I find beautiful and how grateful I am to have this little miracle sitting in my lap.
After we finish reading he promptly kneels next to his bed for nightly prayers. I’m certain God smiles when he hears that sweet little voice pray, thanking Him for his toys and dog and asking Him to bless those he loves.
My son then catapults himself into bed like he jumped from a springboard. After a few feeble attempts at stalling in the hopes of extending his bedtime he tells me the song he would like for me to sing. I sing a favorite lullaby as I rub his back.
I love the feel of his little arms around my neck squeezing me tightly as I kiss him and whisper the words, “I love you” in his little ear. Then as I straighten up and turn to leave, a sleepy little voice says the most wonderful words a mom can hear, “Goodnight Mama. I love you.” I can feel my jaded and hardened adult heart melt into a warm, gooey liquid as I say, “I love you too, honey. Goodnight.”
I walk to the bathroom to begin the scrub down with a warm satisfaction of knowing that my greatest treasure comes in a small package with sparkling eyes, a crooked smile, skinned knees, blueberry bruises on his shins and who leaves a ring in my tub every night.
And I am grateful.
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