Zone of Awareness

Tonight, I intentionally carved out some space once Oak went to bed to give some attention not only to weary legs and achy joints, but to my sleepy spirit. I took a few celebratory, *I'm 30 weeks pregnant!* selfies, prepared a mug of dark hot chocolate with marshmallows, and walked with it into the bathroom. I was getting into it: the self-care zone. I took a few deep breaths, lit a candle, and drew back the shower curtain to run my bath water.
Oh, yeah. Three dirty cloth diaper covers were sitting in the tub because I had hastily thrown them out of the toilet when I had to pee earlier - they had been soaking in the toilet water to get all the toddler poop off. Sigh. Well, that meant I probably needed to clean the tub a little; by "clean," I mean splash some warm water around to remove obvious particulate. "No problem," I thought, gingerly grabbing the covers, "I'll just throw them in the sink and rinse it well later..."
Oh, right. There were already a dozen tiny cups of varying shapes and colors in our sink, left over from my boy's "sensory play" with water and bubbles. Sigh again. I threw the diaper covers back in the tub, careful to avoid dripping anything into my hot chocolate mug, and piled up the cups in our overflowing tiered basket of bath toys before moving the covers again. I hastily "cleaned" (rinsed) the tub, awkwardly huffing and puffing because my lungs were constricted by my pregnant belly when I bent over so far.
NOW, the space was ready! A sink of diaper covers and a hanging basket of toys, plus an elegant arrangement of plant life and a candle perched on a scratched-up toilet lid in my feeble attempt to beautify the space: what more ambiance could I want in a bathroom that's approximately four by five feet? (It's the only bathroom in our house.) I suddenly realized I had to pee again and that, unlike during a shower, I can't pee during a bath. Sigh once again.
After another series of rearrangements, I ran the hot water and watched as the steam began to rise from the tub. Adding baking soda and Epsom salts infused with eucalyptus and lavender, I could feel myself slipping back into the self-care zone. I stepped into the fragrant water, lowered my body down...and remembered just how tiny the tub feels when I'm 30 weeks pregnant. I could sort of lay down in it if I curled my knees to my belly and folded my 5'4" frame to fit the short length of the tub. But the heat and buoyancy nevertheless brought quick relief and reverie, and I let my inner monologue silence into stillness...
Oh, yeah. I am so damn lucky to have clean, hot water and a private space of quiet to cleanse me. I have good friends and community around me that teach me ways to care for myself and offer me constant reminders to do so. My body is strong, healthy, even beautiful, if I give it the chance. I am floating in a moment graced with simple bliss.
I rolled over in the tub and felt Ronin stir inside. I pressed my hand to my belly and, to my delight and wonder, felt a little hand? foot? press back. His slow, sweet movements took my breath away.
Oh, right...I am in love with my family. We are living a full, privileged life. The evidence is everywhere, from the dirty covers and strewn toys to the abandon of Oak's activity and the joy in his laughter. I remembered Robby's gentle hand on my back earlier after I bemoaned the possibility of never again fitting into a favorite shirt, then recanted my angst by tackling Oak with kisses and exclaiming, "But why would I care - look what I've got!" His touch, Oak's pealing giggles, Ronin's small tumbles, all rearranged my insides toward better alignment.
After a time, I sat up and watched the water drain. I covered my belly with oil and drank cool water. I replaced the diaper covers in the empty tub and cleaned (rinsed) the sink. I slipped into oversized sweats, then into bed next to my sleepy husband. I had forgotten whether or not I was still in the self-care zone, but my aches and exhaustion were gone. I felt present, more than a little amused at my humanness, and thankful.
Now, Oak is crying from his room. I'm going to hit "post" and go to him. And, although I did let out a sigh when I heard him call out, I also felt happy to take him in my arms, to let him know I'm here, to hold him in the dark until we both drift off to sleep.