Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
- TITLE: Restroom
By janet rubin
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I would pester him with questions: “What on earth do you do in there? How do you have time to read the paper? What takes so long?” Shrugging, Dave would explain that he liked to “take his time.” Still it remained a mystery to me why anyone would want to linger in the bathroom of all places? Not me! Ironically, I was spending more time in that particular room, not intentionally, but rather because I was no longer a daughter in my mother’s house, but rather the Lady of the House, meaning the one responsible for cleaning the bathroom. So, to me, the bathroom was a place of mildew growth, empty toilet paper rolls, and fresh whisker trimmings around the sink each morning- not my idea of a good place to “hang out”.
I interviewed my more experienced married girlfriends, who assured me this habit of Dave’s was perfectly normal, a “guy thing”. Still I found it highly amusing and teased him whenever I could. If someone would call for him I’d roll my eyes saying, “Oh. He’s in the bathroom. Try back next week.”
My thinking suddenly changed in a moment in 1999. I was a new mother. My precious baby girl, Cassidy Grace, was only a few weeks old. Cassidy nursing and Dave not being a diaper-changing man, I was in demand ALL the time. Cassidy insisted on being held constantly. I cooked, cleaned and ate all with one hand, Cassidy in the other. Of course not everything can be done with one hand.
One day I walked over to Dave and handed over our bundle of joy. “Hold her a minute?” I asked. “I have to use the bathroom.” No sooner were the words out of my mouth than I had a wonderful revelation: going to the bathroom is a legitimate excuse for taking a break. Suddenly it all came clear. “THAT is why they call it the Restroom! I can go there and rest!” Moments later, I sat on a fuzzy, blue bathmat giggling at Garfield and Cathy for the first time in a month. I had never felt so free.
From that time forward, my trips to the bathrooms got increasingly longer. I was deliriously happy with my new discovery. “I’m running to the bathroom honey. Listen for the baby,” I’d call, skipping upstairs, snickers bar in one hand, Christian magazine tucked discreetly under my arm. Soon a little shelf hung beside the toilet, stocked with devotionals and Reader’s Digest. One day as I sat on the sink, alternately painting toenails and taking sips of tea, I heard a knock on the door. It was Dave, the baby propped on his shoulder. “Is everything o.k. in there honey?” he inquired.
“Yes, fine, I’ll be right out,” I called, extinguishing my “Ocean Breeze” scented candle. “Just how long have I been in here?” I wondered. Perhaps I was going overboard, maybe even taking advantage. I decided I had better be careful, lest my bathroom moments of respite be discovered.
My tenth anniversary is coming up soon and our family has grown. Through the years the bathroom has remained a “rest” room for me. No longer do I need to go hide away to get a break from nursing. More often, I simply slip through the door, kneel amidst the bath toys, and utter a prayer. Jesus said to go pray in your closet, but I don’t think He’d mind my substitution of rooms. I don’t know how many prayers have floated up through the fan in the ceiling, but I am thankful for my special place of rest.
From my sanctuary I hear the muffled voices of little girls- “Daddy, do you know where Mommy is?” Smiling, I reach up to lock the door. I will never make fun of my husband again.
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