I gave Caleb a bath today. Not an unusual occurrence. In fact, quite the opposite. I can't tell you how many baths I have given little babies over the last 7 years. Too many to count!
I sat perched on the edge of the toilet, Caleb on my lap, and turned on the bath water. As the tub filled, I slipped his onesie over his head and his diaper off his bottom. Plop, into his bath seat he went. A quick scrub, some shampoo, rinse, conditioner, and out again. As I toweled him off in my lap, I shook my head at the ease of it all. Second nature.
Then tears sprung to my eyes. Because it won't be second nature for long. I can handle slippery little babies with ease, but this is a skill based upon repetition. My confidence is a direct result of experience, and lots of it. But I doubt it's like riding a bike. I may not forget how to bathe an infant, but I will never be as adept at it as I am now. And this makes me incredibly sad.
I remembered how very nervous I was to give Parker his first bath. It was torture trying to get him out of his little gown. I agonized over the water temperature and was certain he would catch a cold because I couldn't dry him quickly enough. I remember humbly accepting grandparents' help. Even then I hovered...What if he slipped from their grip? What if soap got in his eyes? Did they really remember how to do this?
I snapped back into the moment. A darling, slippery little devil bouncing on my knee. And I realized that this routine I had repeated oh so many times, was not as mundane as it had seemed yesterday. It was in fact, fleeting…precious.
Swallowing hard, I let the water out of the tub. I nuzzled Caleb's neck, as only his momma can, and dried his cotton candy hair. I thanked God for the moment, reserved only for parent and child. For a momma and her last baby.