This is going to be a strange missive. Or should I say a stinky one? It will either make you laugh, or ponder your own personal habits.
I have noticed over the years that many things seem to change with age. Most are just natural occurrences that happen so gradually, we barely notice anything different. Unfortunately, there may be some things that others might notice, even if we don’t. Yes, I am talking about body odor.
When I was a young mother of three little girls, I had a strict daily routine for them that included a daily shower or bath every night. No matter what was going on, a perfectly bathed child would be put to bed at night. No exceptions. I chose this nightly ritual because I believed a child slept better having washed off their day and climbed into their bed sparkling clean. It was the routine my mother had started with me and I still had for myself. I remember looking forward, all afternoon, to the time of evening that I would have my children tucked into their beds and smelling of No Tear baby shampoo. It would then be my turn to unwind from the day and soak in a relaxing tub. It was something that I really looked forward to!
I will be the first to tell you that now, at my age, I no longer look forward to bath time. Gone is the desire to step into a tub and get wet. The thought of getting wet all over is almost appalling to me at times. And sometimes, I will put this now dreaded chore off for as long as I possibly can. I am telling you all this personal information as I try to understand what is happening to me. I am not being “lazy”. And the chronic pain I deal with daily is not an excuse every time either.
So what is it then? I have come to the conclusion that it is simply another stage of aging. Having watched my parents be “Seniors” for many years, I noticed both of them having the same feelings about bath time. My dad seemed to not really care if he had one or not. He usually did only to appease my mom. My mother would only take a shower when it was absolutely necessary. She had arthritis in every joint in her body, and I always knew it was a painful ordeal for her, not to mention a dangerous one.
Having been a home health care worker, I also witnessed other seniors who had no interest at all in bath time. It seems the older a person gets, the less of an interest they have in all types of personal hygiene, not just bathing.
Now I do not want to offend anyone reading this! That is the last thing I would ever want to do. But this subject has been on my mind for some time and I just wanted to express how it makes me feel. It has become a definite problem with me personally. I have witnessed it being a problem with many others my own age as well. It appears it is just a natural part of aging, but it saddens me. I know when I do take the time to bathe, and am feeling squeaky clean, and moisturized from my head to my toes, I feel like a new person. Then why on earth do I not want to feel that way daily? I certainly don’t want to smell bad. I don’t believe anyone does really. Yet there does seem to be a real problem among many older individuals.
Maybe it’s just my peaked interest in seniors that has me pondering this subject for so long. My parents didn’t have me until they were in their 40s. They were always “older” than the norm and I have always had an interest in geriatrics. I’m sure that’s why I took my job as a home health worker so seriously. I was truly interested in my clients and found myself studying them. But even those experiences haven’t helped me with my own plight of dreading a bath!
I guess the answer is to just keep on living life like I always have, and that is to take one day at a time and do the very best that I can. Hopefully I will smell good doing so, but in the event that I don’t, I apologize now.
Here’s to a squeaky clean day!
In May 1958, Bobby Darin’s single “Splish Splash “was released. I was 17 years old and had just finished my junior year in high school. I played basketball and football for our school and had done well, and I was sitting on top of the world. My younger brother and I lived with Mom & Dad in an apartment above a restaurant that my mother managed, and I had a job that summer working at the Chrysler dealership about 15 miles away.
Dad was a boss at a coal mine not too far away and, with some additional jingle in my pockets from my job, things were looking up. I was allowed to use the family car, a 1955 Ford Fairlane, on the weekends for dating, but I had a curfew and had to be home by 1 am. Invariably, I would not get home before 3am and, therefore, had to devise a plan to fool my mother.
I didn’t have to worry too much about Dad because he slept like a log, but Mom was not a heavy sleeper and I had to come up with something. So, I would quietly park the car behind the restaurant, get out after removing my shoes and lightly tread the squeaky stairs that took me to our upstairs apartment.
Slipping down the hallway to my parents’ room, I went over to their clock on the night table, set it back to 12:45am, sneaked back down the stairs, put my shoes on, and made plenty of noise as I entered our home. Mom would wake up, glance at the clock, roll over and go back to sleep. I would patiently wait in my bedroom until I could hear her snoring lightly, then I would enter their bedroom, reset the clock and go to bed. My mother never knew of my deception and for some unknown reason I never felt guilty. I do know that I should have. My mother trusted me explicitly and was an easy target. I discovered at an early age how easy it was to take advantage of those that love you.
Flash forward twenty years and I have two teenagers of my own attempting to do the same thing to their parents. When I discovered their violations of the curfew, I would fuss and fume, secretly knowing that I had done far worse when I was their age. All parents sooner or later understand that trying to control their teenage children is a losing game. The best they can hope for is that their children don’t get hurt, nor hurt anyone else.
An old proverb goes, “If you go only once round the room, you are wiser than he who sits still”. I have never been guilty of sitting still, but I still feel guilty for deceiving my mother. I never told her of my deceit for I knew she would have been devastated. Sometimes adult kids enjoy telling their parents how they deceived them as children. That is never a good thing to do. I have met many that would deceive; but none that want to be.
All the energy mankind uses in one year is produced by the Sun in two minutes. How in the world is that possible? Scientist have always told us that unless the Earth was positioned exactly where it is, life on this wonderful planet would not exist. We know that must be true because all the other planets in our solar system doesn’t support living things, or so we are told. I suspect that all the energy the sun produces is, somehow, filtered by our atmosphere and we only receive a fraction of what it slings in our direction. It has existed for about 4½ billion years, has burned half of the hydrogen in its core and is expected to live on for another 5 billion years at which time it will swell up, swallow the Earth and eventually die off into a small white dwarf. I’m not sure that I believe the “swallow up” part, but the rest of it seems feasible.
The one thing that I’m sure of is that every morning after struggling out of bed and raising the window shades, I always grab a smile when I see its rays shining into our bedroom. There are places in our wonderful country where the sun shines practically every day. I have often thought of moving to one of those places, but I would have to leave family behind so I have chosen to remain on the coast of Virginia.
“Is there anything more soothing than the quiet whir of a lawnmower on a summer afternoon.”
A few days ago, my wife and I discovered that a shower in our home that is seldom used wasn’t working. It was time for me to don my plumber’s clothing and attempt the repair. I had previously replaced a cartridge in the Moen’s faucet in another bathroom so I felt confident that I could repair this one as well. The only difference was that the other one was in the sink and this one was in the shower stall.
So, I jumped on my PC and headed over to YouTube and sure ‘nuff, there’s a video telling me exactly what to do. I watched it a couple of times to ensure I knew every step to follow. With the instructions etched into my brain, I headed out to the garage to turn off the water to our home, and proceeded to take the thing apart. Everything’s going fine until I removed the key that held the cartridge in place within the faucet. All of a sudden, that thing shot out of the faucet, landed on the shower floor, and plenty of water followed, covering me from head to toe. I am glad my wife wasn’t there to witness the event for I looked like a drowned rat! It was then that I realized that I should’ve turned the water faucet on to relieve the pressure before taking it apart. I finally got it back together, and it is working fine now, but my wife noticed how wet I was as I was putting away the tools and asked me what happened? I sheepishly responded that it was just a little water and that I would dry out soon. Most men refrain from admitting they made a mistake.
Kathleen Norris said, “If we do not always see our own mistakes and omissions, we can always see those of our neighbors.” Sad but so true!
Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me. I know you will return their love abundantly. That is my intent as well.