No sooner had I submerged as much as I possibly could of my body into the hot water when she burst through the door to my master bath.
"Whatcha doing mom?"
What does it look like I'm doing? Reupholstering the furniture? Washing the car? Perhaps I'm planting a vegetable garden.
"I'm taking a bath honey."
Weren't we done with the constant "whys" a long time ago? I mean, she's almost seven for Pete's sake and she knows darn well why I'm taking a bath...because I want to. Duh. And I'm the mom. So I can. Besides, I can't remember the last time I took a long soak without hearing the screaming of children and the barking of dogs. I can't remember the last time I slathered a blue mud mask on my face and lost myself in a good book.
But still, she clamors on.
Her father and I have just finished a heated discussion about letting 13 year-olds drink hot chocolate after having dessert at 9 o'clock at night. All I want to do is slip into the calgony blue waters of my bath and forget about the ridiculousness of said conversation, but I indulge her.
"Can I come in there with you mama?"
I used to ambush my mom while she was taking baths too. I'd wait a few minutes after I heard the faucet stop running before I knew it would be okay to knock on the door and see if she wanted company. There I'd find her in calgony blue waters, washcloth strategically placed over body parts and a book in her hand. She'd let me sit on the edge of the toilet seat next to the bathtub and ask her anything in the world. I knew I only had a few minutes before she'd shoo me out, so I tried to make everything important.
But mostly, I just wanted to be with her.
Katie starts in, talking about the trip to the dentist office that very morning and I tell her how proud I am of her bravery.
She dips the tip of her painted orange all by herself big toe in the bath water.
"Are you sure I can't just come in there?" She pleads.
"Yes, I'm sure." I answer.
After a few rounds of in and out, a few more questions about life and anything she can think of on a whim, it's finally time for her to go to bed. I hear her dad calling to her. I've already had her brush her teeth in my bathroom so at least that part is done. She stacks the cookbooks I've brought to read, along with my novel, atop the stool next to the tub and kisses me for the tenth time in the thirty minutes I've been "taking a bath."
She comes back three more times to repeat this ritual.
I know someday I'll have all the hours in the world to take a bath in a quiet house after a long day. I'll be able to finish novels, maybe even two or three a week, without being interrupted by kids wanting my time. I'll cook nothing but delicious meals for my husband and I. Chicken fingers will be a thing of the past. I'll always have fresh flowers and an open bottle of wine and a pantry full of fancy crackers. There will be exotic cheese in the fridge instead of our staple block of yellow Tillamook cheddar. I'll be sophisticated.
And I will miss them like crazy.