On the other hand, I haven't showered alone in almost a decade.
Showering with a 9 year old is great for one's self-confidence. Why does your butt jiggle when you move? she says. What's that? pointing to something I am not even going to write down. We're running out of hot water, I answer, pulling her head back to get the soap out.
I grew up with a mom that walked around the house naked. When my friends were over she would wear a June Cleaver organdy apron to appease me, despite the fact that it was see-through and tied open in the back. To this day my friends remember the palm tree tattoo she had on her ass. What can I say? It was the 70s. Now as a mother myself I would never go naked in front of my kids' friends. Instead I wear footie pajamas when I make pancakes after a sleepover, sometimes even with a bra underneath because support. And prude. And hot griddle. The names of my children are tattooed on the insides of my wrists.
You really have to learn how to shower alone, I tell Zoey. When you turn 10, I say, a line in the sand, like how the binkie fairy came to collect her pacifiers when she turned 3. You should treasure this, she says right after she tells me to move because I am hogging all the hot water, my almost 10 year old who is maybe smarter, or more manipulative, than I. Someday I won't want to take showers with you. And then she tilts her head back so I can rinse her hair.
The last time I saw my mom naked she was so sick, skinny, maybe 90lbs? Less? Everything hanging, thin, bony. I think I was helping her get dressed to go back to the hospital, drawstring yoga pants cinched tight and a cotton wrap. We stood in her tiny apartment and hugged for a very long time, probably the last time I hugged her while standing, her shoulders slivers of body, how small she was, how small.
Told you--bad guys and ghosts like to fuck with you when you have your eyes closed.
Zoey turns 10 in two months.