I’ve got his back

To be honest, no one is exactly sure the last time he had a bath. We’re about to start renovations on our house, so we moved into an apartment on Tuesday (yes, during the last week of the school year). He has not bathed in our new tub, so it’s definitely been at least a week.

He used to shower on Sunday after swim team, but we gave up swim team a few weeks ago because life was too busy, so he didn’t shower on Sunday. I try to work backwards and realize that it is entirely possible that no soap has touched his body in two weeks… or more.

Still, he doesn’t stink and there’s no visible dirt, so that’s something. And tonight he slides happily into Grandma’s deep bathtub, filling it until the water covers his shoulders, glorying in the warmth cascading over his head. He rolls and twists, slippery and happy, creating his own watery universe, filling the bathroom with stories.

Eventually, he calls to me, “Mama! Can you soap my back? It’s so hard to reach!”

When I come into the bathroom, he is on his knees, a sliver of soap in his hand. His chest is white with lather. He is perfectly unselfconscious as he twists to deposit the soap in my hand. I feel his back under my fingers, the hard muscle that is beginning to displace the last layer of baby fat. Already he is taller and slimmer than he was just months ago. This will be one of the last times I get to wash him.

I linger over his tawny body for a minute, then I hand him back the soap. “Nearly done?” I ask.

He nods, slips back into the water and thrashes around like a fish to get clean. “Almost, Mama.”


18 thoughts on “I’ve got his back

  1. I love this glimpse of you and your son. The knowing that these moments are fleeting…and that beginning wondering just how long it had been since his last bath. You had me laughing. Some of the whining I endured yesterday also had to do with bath time. Sweet slice of life.


  2. I didn’t blog when my kids were young. I love how you capture a single moment here that means something to mother and son, a moment of independence and dependence, and pure love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Slicing really is am amazing addition to mothering. Just time enough to capture a moment and then on we go. I feel lucky that I have the time and place to write about these little pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely love everything about this slice. I love the slow pace of it leading up to the lathering in the bath. The feelings of appreciation, fleeting moments, and love all shine through. Thanks for warming my heart and putting a smile on my face this morning, Amanda!


    1. Thanks! This is a moment when I am so grateful for slicing. It has made me much more alert to little pieces of life that might otherwise slip through my fingers.


  4. For someone who’s at a stage where he may not get clean all that often, I applaud your son’s thoroughness when he does 🙂 Here’s hoping your home renovations go as smoothly as the moment you capture here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Soap is overrated. I remember being at camp and taking once-a-week showers…and thinking it was a real inconvenience. There were a few annoying counselors who actually sent us back to our cabin if we forgot to bring soap or shampoo. Of course, there were no “grandmother’s bathtubs” at camp either. That would have made a difference. This is one of those pure slices — a moment captured in few words — that gives us an image, a feeling, and a stage preserved. I’m collecting exemplars to share with my class next year. Thanks for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not the only male I know who believes that soap is not strictly necessary. I’m grateful that I’m still slicing because it definitely helps me capture moments like these – ones that so often slip away in the middle of every day life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a beautiful post. I love how you started it with the mundane and humorous, “To be honest, no one is exactly sure the last time he had a bath.” and then ended with lingering in the sweet nostalgia of that moment–knowing that time is passing, childhood is fleeting. Oh so beautifully written. (On a side note, when we lost track of the last bath taken, my husband and I used to disagree about whether our children swimming in the lake counted as them taking a bath. We still laugh about that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words. There’s something happening with my younger child this summer – it’s like I’m watching him change in front of my eyes. Soon enough they’ll be grown… but until then, swimming in the lake totally counts. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps it’s happening with him. Perhaps it’s happening with you. Either way, linger in the moments and keep capturing them with your beautiful writing!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’d planned to write something entirely different & then this moment happened. Something about the humour and the vivid realization caught my attention. Thank goodness for slicing – helped me capture it!


  7. A mother’s work is never done, right?

    BTW: This reminded me of the Mo Willems book The Pigeon Needs to Take a Bath. Do you know it? On the title page the Pigeon responds, “That’s a matter of opinion.” Like you, I’d be of the opinion that he needed to hop into the shower!


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