I took a bath this morning-an epsom salt and bubbles, grab the book and shut the door kind of bath. Instead of my usual weekday run through the shower and go, I poured a hot-as-I-could-stand, sink- in-with-a-sigh-and-figure-out-how-to-get-out-later, all-that-was-missing-was-a-glass-of-wine kind of bath...at 11am on a Wednesday morning.
This was so out of the ordinary that my old, deaf 19 year old tabby came into the bathroom to investigate and hopped up on the rim of the bathtub to keep me company. This in and of itself was extraordinary, because since the arrival of the new, frisky female cat, he's stayed in our bedroom for the most part. While she is making friendly overtures to him, he is having none of it, and has been sulking since her arrival. I suspect he was concerned that I had finally tipped over the edge and risked running into the other cat to investigate. (She is at the vet being neutered. She was in heat this weekend, and drove him crazy with unwanted affection. He was appalled.)
I've been mired in shoulds lately. Since I was a child, bubble baths and books have been a favorite escape to destress and recharge. I would fill the tub to the brim and disappear alone with a book and bubbles, and sometimes, candles and a glass of wine. Since the arrival of my small child, however, solo bubble baths have become a thing of the past. I've tried it a couple of times, and the relaxation value is greatly diminished by the addition of a non-stop talking child, a dozen bath toys and a never-ending chorus of Hannah Montana's greatest hits. Besides, she splashes and soaks the pages of my book.
I was getting ready to take my normal shower this morning. Kid was at school. Husband was at work. Cat was at the vet and I had a few precious hours of peace and quiet to work. As I reached over to turn on the shower, the plug fell into the drain. The universe gave me a sign. The old cat came in around then and meowed at me. I thought I wish I could have a bath...followed by, "Well, why the hell not."
I've been feeling anxious and stressed, my throat in spasm and my jaw has clenched so much that my teeth hurt. I grabbed book and my reading glasses, bubbles and epsom salts, and the phone, just in case. I filled the tub, sank into the bubbles and did something just for me. It was selfish, it was a waste of precious alone time when I should be working, or starting to get my taxes together, or venturing into the black hole under my daughter's bed...and instead I let the epsom salts and bubbles work some magic as I read a Debbie McComber story and relished in her way with words and characters and plot. I let the water cool to tepid, and pet the old cat who chose to share the time with me.
I forget to take care of myself sometimes. I forget to make selfish decisions to put myself first. I forget to honour the woman and person that I am. For one small space of time, I let go the reins of control and escaped into a book.
Today, I took a bath in the middle of the day. By myself. And I don't feel the least bit guilty.