Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Baby Shampoo and Mama Lovin'

There is something about the minutes right after bath time that makes my heart ache with contentment. After splashing, scrubbing, pouring, squirting, and giggling with the energy only kids possess, my little cuties stand before me dripping and wrinkled, waiting for me to cocoon their unselfconscious bodies with their towels. Once snugly wrapped, they grow momentarily still, the rush of their water adventures giving way to the calm of their surrender to my gentle drying pats and squeezes. They are clean, fresh, smelling of innocence and purity and baby shampoo.

Then Abby, who normally bounds and careens and prances through life like a puppy, insists that I pick her up. When she's folded securely in my arms, she lays her damp head on my shoulder and snuggles in, content to share this moment of communion before racing off into her next thrill. For these brief, wondrous seconds, I get to hold her and squeeze her and coo sweet nothings in her ear, washing away any residue of hurt or frustration from her day so she can begin again, her spirit refreshed and clean with the reminder of her truest self.

Rinsing away the dirt of the world, the sweat of their labor, and the trace of the messes they've made reminds me poignantly of the more important role I have: to whisper to their souls who they really are when the world sullies their spirits with its judgment, to remind them that needn't strive and work and try so hard to earn my love, and to gently encourage them as they face the hurts they've caused and wrestle with how to make things right.

Baby shampoo and Mama lovin': powerful antidotes to the mud and mire of this life.

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