I patted her diaper-padded bottom as we ascended up the stairs to the hall bath last night, her brother a few steps ahead of us. She playfully peered through the rungs of the banister and smiled at her reflection in the foyer mirror. I sang a song of marching up the steps to move her along. It only added to the silliness of parading into the bathroom for tub time, her feet happily marching along to the beat of the song.
I am so lucky, I was thinking to myself.
You see, each time I walk the kids up the stairs to tackle bathtime, I can't help but think back to the night I took my son up for his bath at 18 months old, his baby sister a mere poppy seed in my belly, and how I could feel that I was losing my mind. Thoughts were racing through my head, but yet at the same time, there was a calmness about it all. He was completely oblivious to the whole thing, of course. He climbed up the stairs and I paused to look out the window above our front door, the clouds swirled up in the sky a hazy magnificent sunset display, colors so vibrant they looked as if they were burning with the secret of heaven.
We sang songs in the tub filled with bubbles and toys, and as we did this, I began to feel like the world was ending. The planes soaring over our house because of our close proximity to the airport, pushed my anxiety over the edge and I started shaking a bit, the walls were beginning to cave in on me. I quickly and methodically bathed my little man and then wrapped him up and dressed him in warm jammies, smelling his freshly washed skin and hair with deep whiffs as I read him a story, sung him a song and tucked him in his crib for the night. I remember thinking I would probably come get him and bring him into our bed once my husband and I went to sleep for the night. Given it was probably our last night on Earth, I felt it was fitting we should be together as a family in a cozy bed at least.
Hard to believe I made it out of the hospital after a week's stay, and recovered from that episode within a few months under my doctor's close supervision. I thank God every day that we had a healthy baby when our little girl was born 8 months later, and it never ceases to amaze me that I was given the job of being their mom every day. I'm a good mom. It's just that I have a past that is speckled with bits of sickness and recovery, and I often am reminded of those times. For me, they are simple reminders for me to be grateful for my health and my family. These times I remember, these old dusty memories of what happened when I became manic and how I became well again, they make up my story and they inspire me to keep on writing.
One day at a time. Or, one sunset step up the stairs to the bathroom for tub time, at a time.