I think having kids made my life better.
Do I? Yeah. Yes. I do. Made my life better, made me a better person. Yeah.
Take this summer. I drove my kids to New Jersey on 31 separate days this summer. One day, I drove to New Jersey twice — two entirely different directions.
These were tendrils of New Jersey I’d never been to or heard of. Like Narnia, they sat behind the wardrobe doors, awaiting my discovery.
One of those places had great scones. Chocolate chip, which you really don’t see enough of.
Although, well, Gov. Murphy doesn’t consider the places I visited a part of Central Jersey. But I do. So maybe he’ll read this and amend his declaration.
Right in the middle.
I won’t even request that Union and Hudson counties be included. I mean, you’re basically required to associate something called “Hudson” with New York. It’s in the Constitution or Magna Carta or something, right? It’s got to be.
See what I mean? Would I even care about Gov. Murphy’s declaration if I didn’t have kids? No! Without kids, I’d be living in London, eating scones because scones are everywhere in London.
And while that does sound way better than an intimate knowledge of Gov. Murphy’s random geographical edicts, I am sitting here aggressively pretending it’s not.
But from scuba to our dog, my life is richer because of my kids. Not financially, of course. And I don’t get a lot of sleep. And I’ve seen some dumb movies. But the fabric of my life? Yeah. It’s great.
Until a few weeks ago.
Yeah. I’ll tell you what happened.
I assume you’re familiar with the cold shower trend, which has driven unknown masses into an icy mist raining from their spigots. There are possible health benefits, Mark Consuelos does it, blah, blah, blah.
Which — I just need to say to here that I don’t watch LIVE with Kelly and Mark. I don’t. I just happened to see this cold shower discussion between Mark and Kelly while I was watching LIVE one day.
Even though I don’t watch it.
My husband believes I secretly watch LIVE with Kelly and Mark because I have a lot to say about it.
I don’t think I say anything about LIVE. But my husband also insists I lied to get out of going on a date with him way back when so there’s that.
I have no reason to lie about either LIVE or that first date. I lie about how often I watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan because nerdiness doesn’t need to be advertised. And I lie about how many chocolate chip scones I can eat, although I think that number is impressive.
But I don’t lie about LIVE.
Anyway. Cold showers.
A few weeks ago, my son told me he was switching to cold showers. My Teutonic frugality would have thrown a ticker tape parade if ticker tape didn’t cost money.
At that point, I was two weeks out from my final scuba certification test. I suggested we challenge ourselves to daily cold showers until I passed scuba.
This was no small commitment because, really. Does anything feel better than a hot shower? The steam, the skin cracked from moisture loss, the mold on the bathroom ceiling?
And the snowy March weekend in a quasi-indoor pool for the second leg of scuba certification wasn’t far from my mind. While I knew I was unlikely to get cold in an inlet in Central Jersey — right, Governor? — in August, when the abject fear of scuba would unleash enough adrenaline to blunt any feeling whatsoever, I still thought maybe I’d get cold.
But — I don’t know. I was so far inside my head those few weeks before the scuba certification, I could have lied to get out of a first date with Gov. Murphy on LIVE with Kelly and Mark and have very little sense of what I was doing.
So the cold showers seemed as good an idea as any I had this summer.
I started those first few showers with lukewarm water, gradually reducing the temperature as I acclimated. By day three or four, I could jump right into a shower cranked to the near-coldest setting.
Because, well, I really like cold showers.
Stepping out of a cold shower feels like an accomplishment. It’s the way I felt when I finished the Marine Corps Half Marathon. It’s the way I feel when a dinner I’ve cooked gets packed for my husband’s lunch.
It’s the way I feel when I successfully hide having watched LIVE.
Kidding, guys. Kidding.
So where does my resentment come in? Well, hot showers are a reward for those days when you’re painting the house during a blackout that forced the cancellation of school and everybody has paint on them including the dog and cat even though you told everyone like nine thousand times not to lean on the wall.
But although that scuba certification is a month in the rearview, I can’t seem to get back to hot showers. I miss them, but each time I think of redlining that faucet, I don’t.
Hot showers feel unwanted, as though a part of my brain is lying to hot showers to get out of a date with them. The steam, the cracked skin, the mold?
I am holding out for January, when snow and ice and frosty temperatures maybe bring me back around.
Until then, I am left both grateful to and perturbed by the kid who suggested cold showers.
Parenting is great.
Now leave me alone. It’s time to watch LIVE.