Growing up, my dad was renowned for taking long showers. Like forty-five minutes long. This never really made sense to me. I mean, there’s no live sporting event or Renaissance paintings or even salty snacks in there. It’s just you, a dolphin-adorned shower curtain, some Zest, maybe a loofah. I mean, wouldn’t you just get bored? Yeah, I never got it. Until just recently.
I’ve gotten so accustomed to bathing now with the kids that showers seem almost retro, cool again. Hellooooo, old friend. It’s been a while. Your water still warm and enveloping? What are you doing around 8:30 tonight?
The shower is the parent’s refuge. A place of peace, Zen and apricot facial scrubs. It’s the one place you can truly put on your ‘Out of Parental Office’ reply, have yourself a little staycation. Sometimes I overhear inklings of the minor child disasters befalling my wife outside the bathroom door, but they seem far away, almost dreamlike, as I exfoliate just one more time.
It’s more than just an escape, though. With two small kids, a shower is like sleeping in—a luxury to be taken advantage of when the opportunity arises. It is also a wonderful place to gather your wits. We seem to exist in a constant state of interruption and half-thoughts. But the shower is the one place I can actually focus, think through what to cook for dinner or that cannoli in Sicily or a new blog idea. Happy thoughts.
My wife is not a convert, hasn’t seen the light. She still prefers the inferiority of the bath. Baths, in addition to the extended preparation time, also have a natural ending time, an expiration date. The water gets tepid, the toes prunish. The bath dictates when you are finished. But a shower can theoretically go on for days, or at least until your hot water tank craps out. You get out when you’re good and ready; you are the boss of the shower.
Everybody needs a happy place. A quiet place, a kid-less zone, a place to be off duty. Even if it’s temporary (and it always is). Someplace you can go where the din of parenthood can be tuned out. Should be tuned out. I don’t have a man-cave or a study. I recently surrendered the spare bedroom to kid-dom. But I do have a dolphin-adorned shower curtain. So I’ve claimed the shower as my personal happy place. My wife’s happy place—she runs. What’s yours?