The water runs down my face and I breathe deep enjoying the hotness splattering all around me. I have come here to escape, to hide from my family.
It’s working. The water is a tonic for my tired – even though it’s only 5pm – body and my brain which like my closet, needs a good cleaning. They were all just annoying me in the usual ways – get me this, mommy he’s bothering me, why can’t I – but today my tolerance is low. I can’t blame the moon, my hormones or my father; it’s just me being cranky.
Sometimes we all need a timeout, so I took one and it felt sublime… for about five minutes, until my middle son barrels in complaining about his older brother.
“I’ll be out in a few minutes,” I say but he continues on anyway, his small offended voice growing louder as he pleads his case.
“I can’t really hear you,” I say, hurriedly washing the shampoo from my hair. “Just give me a few minutes.”
“Wait!” He yells impatiently, “Just listen!”
I can’t really listen. The water is running. And I am naked.
“Please,” I beg, feeling the shower glow dissipate even in steam.
My 12 year old runs in, equally impassioned with my 6 year old merrily following, happy not to be part of the fray. He wasn’t the one who did that to him because he did that first but didn’t mean to do it but did it anyway. Nope he’s just here for the entertainment.
They are screaming at each other and me to fix the problem while my little one does a little dance of glee. Does no one realize that I am in the shower? It’s like I’m invisible but for the first time ever I’m feeling exposed.
All of a sudden my three boys ages 6, 9 and 12 seem too old to be barging in on me. We never made a big deal about nudity, neither going out of our way to show it or cover it. And besides a few random questions at the toddler age like, “Mommy, where’s your pee pee?” or, my youngest who just loves my ‘squishy body’, there have been no averted eyes, prolonged stares or interest what so ever. In fact, no one has really seemed to notice that I’m even a girl.
Oh my God – I’m a girl!
And I’m naked!
“Everyone just get out!” I huff and a chorus of exasperated, ‘MOMs!’ ensue. Finally they march out still arguing.
Sometime in the next year or so, even though my 12 year old is still wonderfully oblivious, he will be demanding and deserving his privacy just as I now deserve mine. It’s time.
Alone I tentatively emerge, grab a towel to wrap round myself.
From now on I need more than just a little escape. I also need to hide.