This morning after my workout, I went to grab a towel for the shower. There were only two in the cabinet, so I took the one that looked the most fluffy and absorbent and jumped under the refreshing waterfall. When I finished, I reached for the towel and unfolded it.
It had two pink bunnies with cotton tails on it and a pink border.
All of this was on the side that was concealed by the fold. Normally, I’m pretty good at avoiding the towels that are specifically for my eight-year old daughter. They’re typically shorter and therefore aren’t as desirable for adults to use. That and the ladybugs, frills, and soft pink borders. But since it was really early and it was folded like it was, I didn’t detect that it was a child’s towel until it was too late. So there I was, a grown man, drying off with a towel with pink bunnies, complete with fluffy cotton tails and a girly pink edge.
I had to laugh at myself.
Then I started thinking about a day when there wouldn’t be any more bunny towels in the closet for me to mistakenly grab. Those towels will be replaced by bigger, fluffier, and more grown-up towels. And the amount of make-up, and hair product, and other girl-type things in the bathroom will double in size. Little girls transform into big girls, and then young ladies, and then women. It all happens rather quickly, like that two-minute movie sequence that skips ahead in the life of a person. If you don’t really pay attention for those two minutes, you can miss it all and end up wondering how in the world they grew up so fast.
These reminders are everywhere. I’m the primary dishes-doer in our home. I enjoy doing it, actually. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a functioning dishwasher, so my siblings and I had to wash every dish by hand. Comparatively speaking, rinsing off some dishes and stacking them in the dishwasher is a breeze. So in my home, when there are dirty dishes in the sink, I step into a phone booth and emerge as Dishes Daddy, a hero who vanquishes all manner of greasy plates, messy cups, dirty utensils, and used water bottles. Not the hero the kitchen needs, but the hero it deserves. I even have my own logo.
What I’ve noticed over the years is the diminishing amount of little cups in the top rack. A few years ago, it was dominated by bottles, then sippy cups. Now the amount of kid-size cups is just a small percentage of the total. Soon, there won’t be any at all. If you could attach one of those time-lapse cameras over the top of the dishwasher, you could literally watch your children grow up as the cups change in size over time. Bottles grow up into sippy cups, sippy cups age into kid cups, and kid cups mature into regular-sized cups.
Same is true with the closet. Right now, if I go to the laundry room, there’s still a chance that what I would find to hang my shirts and pants on will be little hangers. This could be frustrating, like reaching for a real towel and ending up holding a fluffy bunny one. After all, it’s not real easy to hang my clothes on such small hangers. Doesn’t really work that well. But just like the cups, the little hangers in the closet are gradually fading, giving way to their larger versions.
So I’m grateful I reached for the wrong towel this morning. It was a small, but significant gift. A reassurance that there is still a little one underfoot in my house. Even as my oldest is fully embracing adolescence physically and emotionally, my youngest still lives in the world of dolls and over-sized stuffed puppies, and tinker toys and uno cards and innocent, whimsical, wonderful things. She still drinks out of little cups, her little clothes still hang on little hangers, her towels are still covered with ladybugs and bunnies with cotton tails and soft, pink borders.
The towel was a gentle reminder to wrap myself in the moments of my children’s lives, to live in those moments with them. To be grateful and not annoyed. To be appreciative and not frustrated. To not be so distracted, or unaware, or so busy that these precious days go unnoticed.
Like a pair of pink bunnies hidden under the fold of a towel.
“Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours, these little wonders still remain.” – Rob Thomas