I turn the handle and water flows into the tub.
"Is it warm enough?"
I let her decide.
Choice is the fundamental human right.
Sometimes I tease her and move the handle to C.
"Too cooooold!" she cries.
We try again.
She pulls her hand away.
I tap the handle to the center.
"It's warrrm," she says approvingly.
And we're off.
I direct her scrubbing and help with hard-to-reach places.
While she washes, I sing.
"Do, a deer, a female deer,"
She joins in: "Re, a drop of golden suuuuun!"
We could duet for hours-our voices loud and strong,
amplified by bathroom plumbing.
When she is finished, I give her a moment to relax.
Sometimes we have to rush to
get dressed, dry hair, apply lotions,
But haste never feels appropriate.
She likes to linger under the warm stream.
I slide the shower door shut and let her soak in private.
When she emerges, she steps on to the bath mat and declares:
She speaks for us both,
for we are both purified.
Baptized by the tender power
of giving and receiving a bath.