“A-HA” moments spring upon us at any time, in any place. I like to imagine a quiet, natural setting for my revelations. Maybe a few birds twittering; maybe in that periwinkle time between night and day when everything cools and calms. As most of us know, we can’t choose the time and place of our deepening awareness. I cannot change the fact or ensuing humiliation of my “A-HA” moment while cleaning the toilet.
Since finishing school, I’m on a cleaning rampage. I dared to enter the kids’ bathroom and cleaned it for them. Based on the disgusting build up, one might assume it’s been a couple of years since I ventured that way. It’s only been a month or so but in my defense, I’m a terrible housekeeper.
I wore rubber gloves, protective eyewear and a large garbage bag over my clothes. Only kidding but I’m considering it for future cleaning. I typically begin on the toilet with a pre-spray to loosen the grime. I’m not sure how the toilet gets pee outside of the bowl but I’m sure it’s my son’s doing. My daughter is simply not equipped for the job. He’s not a dirty kid, per se, and he’s old enough to pay attention so I think most of the misfires happen in the middle of the night as he wanders half asleep to the toilet. I’ve bitched at him to clean it himself, noting that my daughter doesn’t deserve to deal with the mess. Then we typically move on to other subjects and the bathroom stays as is. Did I mention I’m a strict disciplinarian?
As I cleaned today I came across a couple pubic hairs and this is when my “A-HA” moment hit. I sat back on my heels as it soaked in that my kids are no longer children! They are my children but they are not baby-like children! They have pubic hair (or someone who has pubic hair is sneaking in and using their toilet)! Wait. What?
I know it’s weird that this sighting is yet another catalyst for my transition into a new phase of life. I rarely see my kids in the nude. Since they’ve become teenagers, they are more private, rightly so. I knew theoretically they were going through the normal hormonal changes that all homo sapiens enjoy. I’m going through my own set of changes labeled perimenopause which means every normal cycle and related skin outbreak I’ve become accustomed to over the last 30 years is changing and I get to live on constant alert with tampons on hand at all turns and in a constant state of emotional upheaval. It’s so awesome! Given all this, I was still missing a sliver of reality regarding my children’s progress until today’s toilet cleaning.
I know my kids are no longer little kids who fit in the dual seated cart at Costco. I’ve cried while driving past their pre-school or at the recall of zoo trips. I’ve become the older woman who wisely relates to women with younger kids: “It goes so fast.” I know my son will be driving in a year. I know they are growing up, especially since they are taller than me. I see it happening. The details of growing up are what throw me off now and then, slicing little chunks of childhood away forever, and this is what happened today.
The discovery of these pubic hairs sharpened my awareness of the kids’ blossoming and the time gone. I simply never thought of my kids as people who leave pubic hair behind but that is what they are doing and it’s totally natural. I just have to face it. And I have to face all the other stuff it means to my life. I also need to clean their toilet more often. Ew.