Today I was looking at our bathtub and wishing the Bathroom Fairy would come and redo our shower surround. And fix the water damage next to the baseboard, and replace the floor vent with the chipped paint. Paint the walls to disguise the plaster cracks again, and while he/she was at it (do you suppose the Bathroom Fairy is a boy or a girl?) I have never liked that pedestal sink.
Well, I take that back. I did like our sink for a very short time and for one reason only.
It's wide and shallow, and when I brought my baby girl home from the hospital, she had her first bath in there because it was just the perfect fit. She didn't stay that little for very long, but I loved that sink during that sweet interlude.
I haven't thought of that in years, but now as I stand in our bathroom with my mental list of all its deficiencies, I look at that wide, welcoming basin and remember running hot water first, to take the chill off the porcelain. Then draining it out and adding cool, until it was the perfect temperature for my little pink pumpkin. Instantly I'm transported back to the little excited jerk of her limbs, the way her black-olive eyes widened and how my voice soothed her and she didn't cry. I remember trying to keep my grip but not hurt her slippery little self. My fingers remember the rose-petal texture of her precious little folds and perfect little features. And how good, how GOOD she smelled afterward, just exactly like a baby should.
I stand in the bathroom and wipe the water puddle from where it always collects behind the faucet. I have done this many times a day for years now. Doubtless the people who "flipped" our house didn't level it correctly in their rush to get it back on the market. Or maybe it's an engineering design flaw that no one caught until it drove people like me quietly crazy over the course of a decade or so. No one but me ever seems to wipe it up, but as a mom I'm just thankful for the evidence that they washed their hands, and hold my peace as I sluice away the soap drips.
Oversized and ill-suited to our humble abode, the sink was there when we moved in, freshly installed, and we had no choice in the matter nor leftover money to change it after the fact. At least it was plain white and not some hideous avocado or harvest gold. With time, we learned to walk around it with just a certain sway so as not to catch the jutting corner with our hip. Call it the hula of the powder room--after fifteen years, we can do it in the dark.
Fifteen years that sink has stood there, ungainly but efficient. I washed my baby in the basin. Cleaned up after sick kids. Clogged the drain after an over-zealous buzz haircut. Sterilized the combs after a lice scare. Washed ink and paint and paste and glitter off my hands. Garden dirt from my fingernails, car grease from manly elbows, flour and batter from my little cooks.
That sink has watched my son learn to shave, seen my daughter's first lipstick applied and the countless trimmings of a certain silvering moustache that gives the best tickly kisses.
I wring out the washcloth and hang it to dry. My hand automatically straightens the towel, then I reach to flip off the light, taking care that my wedding ring doesn't gouge the wallboard again. I leave the sink and a faint, ghostly whiff of--is that Johnson's Baby Wash?-- behind me, in damp darkness.
I always did love that sink.