I remember, one night, when Juliana was about 9 months old maybe, I rubbed her down with lotion after a bath. And while I was rubbing her chubby legs she started to fall asleep. So I wrapped her towel around her and kept massaging her legs until she literally knocked out.
I have never, ever forgotten that (single) night.
Growing up, I dreamed about being a business owner, running the world, and marrying my dream husband. But more often than not, I dreamed about babies. I couldn't wait to stay up all night and rock my babies or maybe even slow dance with my husband in the nursery (like at the end of the movie Nine Months). But the reality is, babies are really, really hard. And most nights don't even have "fun" baths, followed by "soothing massages," and a "story and lullaby."
Most nights (at least around here) are rushed, because we have school and laundry, and the bath toys are molded, and who knows how long that wash cloth has been in there.
So instead of a Johnson & Johnson commercial, there is lots of yelling and crying and messes over the side of the tub, which turns into no lotion, let me put a movie on while I run and do one of the 50,000,000 things left over from a hard day, maybe a teeth-brushing session before it's all said and done — if we are "gathered" — and a kiss good-night.
But tonight was different!
I decided I was going to take a nice, long, hot soak with bubbles, Epsom salts, and Pandora. I lit a candle, turned off all the lights, and literally slipped into a coma.
Within 10 minutes, that sweet little face appeared at the side of the tub. She turned the light on. She refused to take a bath in her own tub, and now she saw I was practically swimming in bubbles.
I sent her away to her own tub anyways, with my bubble bath in hand.
She returned, not five minutes later. Completely naked. With the saddest little face ever. She didn't even turn the light on this time . . . she hopped right in without asking, sat down in the deep, superwarm water, and said:
"Oooooooohhhhh mom, this is the most cozy thing ever!
I wish we could sleep in here.
I love your candle.
And this music.
And the lights off. There is enough light that we can still see.
I love the way it smells. Mom . . . this is soooooooooo nice."
I could have died. She literally leaned back on my "comfy belly" and propped her tiny feet up on the side of the tub and just closed her eyes.
A few minutes later, Jason walked in, prepared to remove her, so I could have the "10 minutes to myself" I had just claimed after cooking our dinner, but he could clearly see that we were having a moment.
"I love you, sweet girls," he said.
She told him, "Dad, this is the best. thing. ever!"
She asked me if we could take a bath like this one, every single day. I told her we would definitely do it again and started washing her hair with my fancy shampoo, and this song started playing on my iPhone, and although I didn't know what it was, I do now (thanks, Google!). It went like this:
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
If you dream of me
like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart
And it was that same feeling. Like, I wanted to look around for the cameras to be filming because this is what little girls who dream of being moms — this is exactly what their dreams are made of.
That night that I rubbed her little legs until she fell asleep. The hundreds of hard days couldn't hold a candle to this little moment we were having. And just like her, I wished it never had to end, because this moment was everything and more that I hoped for when I was little, when I couldn't wait to be a mom. I would have stayed in that bathtub all night long.