I love a bubble bath—a big deep tub filled with water hot enough to almost melt me and with bubbles up around my ears.
The combination of bubbles and heat solve many of life’s dilemmas and anxieties.
I think this stems back to my aspiration as a six-year-old to become a mermaid. I had the whole scene figured out: the seas would be warm and a magnificent emerald green, my hair would be long and wavy (naturally), and being without legs created no particular hardship in my imagined life.
My seascape home would have been my childhood farmhouse, only filled with water—but not to the very top; I would swim up the stairs. And I would still have my yellow blanket and crawl under the covers at night.
It was going to be perfect.
I think perhaps my mermaid ambitions and my love of the water were influenced by a British film, “Miranda,” the story of a mermaid played by Glynis Johns, an actress who later sang about suffragettes as the mother on “Mary Poppins.”
“Miranda” was a playful comedy where the mermaid lived for a time out of the water touring the sites of London. Miranda seemed to have the best of both worlds, before she chose water over land.
Oh, how I wanted to be Miranda.
My idea of living beneath the water’s surface involved no holding of breath, though I did practice quite regularly in my childhood tub—until my sister warned that such activities would cause brain damage, to what she referred to as my “already questionable brain.”
I wasn’t sure of her certainty or accuracy in that regard, but I quit the breath-holding trials just to be on the safe side.
I didn’t become a mermaid, and bath time wasn’t always a simple pleasure. There was a time when I was little when a bath involved the kitchen sink or a large washtub on the kitchen floor—and that seemed a blatant abuse of my privacy, not to mention the drafts.
The heat of the water in my current baths drives out all bothersome memories of those chilly kitchen tub times and I like the door shut; no parading family members or idle chit-chat about the weather or the price of corn.
However, once little girls began arriving in my world, bath time ceased being an intermission of solace.
If the bathroom door was locked, invariably leaking under and around the door were little voices chanting, “What are you doing, Mommy? How long will you be, Mommy? I have to pee, Mommy. I’m hungry, Mommy,” or any combination thereof, with a dogged perseverance that would have worn down even the most determined amongst us.
If the door remained unlocked, a cold little body would slide into the tub behind me with soapy hands over my eyes. “Guess who?” she would say, with absolute certainty I would be surprised.
I just wanted a few moments of peace in those days; just moments to call my own. It didn’t seem a lot to ask—just minutes to soak away my worries and my aches and pains.
I bought the girls a great book entitled “Five Minutes’ Peace” written by Jill Murphy. Mrs. Large, an elephant, just wanted to soak in her tub for five minutes, but someone always needed her.
I could identify and wish I had written the book myself.
Those little voices with questions are gone from my locked bathroom door and there are no little girls slipping in to share my tub. Bath time is a private luxury once again and though I love it, I find myself missing those interruptions and being needed.
But as luck would have it, my new puppy, “Gracie,” peers with her paws over the edge of the tub and thinks she should join me.
So far she’s not big enough to leap into the tub, but she’s growing at an alarming rate.
So I’m back to wanting five minutes’ peace again. Thank goodness.