6:15am: My alarm goes off.
I slowly and carefully extract myself from the bed, careful not to wake the toddler who has almost certainly ended up velcroed to my nipple at some point in the night. I tiptoe out of the room, stepping gingerly over the sleeping dog, who is blessedly deaf and does not notice what she does not feel.
It’s still dark this time of year, but that’s ok. I am going to savor the next 15 minutes of alone time. I’m going to relish in this shower.
As I enter the bathroom the elderly cat pushes his way in. He meows loudly. “Shut the fuck up,” I say in a whisper. “Fucking pet me,” he says with his body, as he rubs against my naked leg. The best head pats happen when the female human is sitting on the toilet, after all.
I shut the bathroom door as gently as possible. As I start the water I will it to please just splash more quietly. Doesn’t it know the big child sleeps just on the other side of the wall?
I let the hot water run down my body as I try to practice the mindfulness my therapist is always saying would be helpful. I concentrate on my senses.
I mindfully hear a steady thumping sound.
It’s growing louder.
My body tenses.
The bathroom door opens.
I cry a little on the inside.
Three minutes. That’s how long it took from my alarm going off to hearing the words, “Mommy? Can I get in the shower with you?”
And that is the story of why I need therapy in the first place.