My mom loved to take long, hot bubble baths with a good book in the evenings after work and dinner. While she probably would’ve preferred to bathe in the privacy of her own bathroom downstairs, the only bathtub in our house was upstairs next to my room, where I, an only child, was usually doing homework. Inevitably, I’d end up popping into the bathroom to say hi or sit down on the toilet lid for deeper conversation. Seeing her soft mom body was soothing and helped me feel equally comfortable with my own naked body.
My parents sometimes talked about remodeling their bathroom or buying a new house, but when I was 15, my mom’s struggle with breast cancer ended. A few years later, one of my dad’s girlfriends lived with us for a while. She also used the tub by my room, but she took very short baths compared to my mom. I was disappointed by the length of her baths, and my teenage self used this as a judge of character. She was not my mom’s or my kind of bather.
Fast forward twenty years …
When my husband and I bought and renovated our first house in 2014 (while pregnant with our second daughter …“What kind of crazy people would do that?” we used to wonder), the master bath was supposed to have a soaker tub and tiled shower. The night that we shopped for tubs online, I realized that if we put a tub and shower in the bathroom, we’d be significantly compromising the size of both. My gut reaction was to ditch the tub, enlarge the shower and add a bench, but I couldn’t shake the memory of my mom trekking upstairs to take her baths. I realized why I most wanted the tub, and I unexpectedly turned into a pregnant faucet overcome with emotion: my mom never had the tub she wanted in her bathroom, and I really wanted to give her one, and to take baths in my first grownup house while remembering her.
As much as I am my mother’s daughter (a loving, quirky, poet-at-heart who misplaces her keys and sunglasses in the same room a few times a week), I’m also a stay at home mom of two kids under three, and I could picture the tub getting dusty while reminding me of all the other things I can’t make time to do these days. My husband understood and though he really wanted a bigger shower, he didn’t want to deprive me of my tub. I decided to sleep on it, and awoke the next morning a little sniffly, but certain that we should move forward without a tub.
Room for Three
We’ve settled into our rehabbed house now, and the baby I was pregnant with is almost walking. I took plenty of baths with my toddler when she was little—she would adorably nurse my belly button as well as my boobs—but had sadly not taken one with her sister, so I decided that a mama/daughter bath in their shower tub would be their Mother’s Day present to me this year. I spent so many Mother’s Days since my mom died wanting to hide from the world, and though it’s changed for me since becoming a mom, it’s still a strange day that I haven’t yet figured out how to celebrate.
Our first family bath was a little crowded and my baby, who has a very different personality than my toddler, didn’t want to nurse, but we had tons of fun splashing and kissing.