Night time in our little house.
I’m upstairs in the bathroom off our master bedroom. I’m pregnant, just clearing the first trimester, tired and bloated. I look in the mirror. I lean in closer. How many zits, exactly, do I have?
I estimate one million billion on the right side of my neck alone.
And why must they be on my neck???
And is it pregnancy or the French fries slathered in mayonnaise and ketchup that I can’t seem to stop eating?
(pregnancy, definitely pregnancy, I’m not giving up the fries)
Also, I’m pretty sure I have a new wibbly-wobble in my neck skin.
A hot shower is exactly what I need.
I creep down the stairs and peer out into the hall, with its sight to the dining room table where my husband sits, reading over my most recent version of a manuscript and making notes with a pencil (kind, kind man).
“Hey baby,” I whisper, “want to take a shower with me?”
A door bursts opens.
Out from the room where she’s (supposedly) been in la-la land comes a pajama-clad four-year-old with night-rosy cheeks, golden hair flowing about her shoulders like a lion’s mane. She’s tugging at the sleeves of her sleeper as if to take it off and smiling like it’s Christmas morning.
We look at the exuberant face of our daughter.
“Uh,” says my husband. “I think Mom meant me.”
I look at her pink little face and feel a monumental stab of mama-guilt. Because maybe she’s been waiting all her life for Mom to whisper an invitation to a secret midnight shower—tip-toeing up to the top floor with its shower of many spigots in the very middlest of the night and playing her favorite game–spraying the shower walls with water and laughing maniacally as she ‘cleans the bathroom.’ Very possibly, I’ve just dashed every hope and dream she’s ever had.
“I’ll take another shower with you soon,” I say to her with my most winning smile.
Alice considers my offer. “Can I make a nest on my floor with my blankets?”
“Yes,” my husband and I say at the same time. “Go for it.”