The Bathtub

by | Jun 10, 1998 | Priorities, Treasure

This last Wednesday night I wanted to take a nice hot bath and read a book that was loaned to me called: “Reaching the Summit,” by Pat Summitt. (The University of Tennessee’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach)

I was tired and a little stressed, and all I wanted to do was lie in the hottest water I could stand and read away. The problem with this little “getaway” for me was the fact that “Aqua Boy” lives in our house in the form of Caleb. There is not a bath that is taken in our that “Little Marine Man” doesn’t know about. When he realized what I was going to do he started asking to take one too. Of course I said no.

“Oh Pleazzzzzzzzzzzze Daddy?”

“Caleb I said no.”

“But I wannnnnaaa!”

After a couple of hundred no’s I told him that I would think about it. Then In put my finger on my cheek and tapped it a bit (To show that I was thinking) and then said no. I probably shouldn’t have done this, but hey, we parents can have a little sarcastic fun right? The problem was that mommy saw me do this. Not good. You don’t mess with the head of my wife’s offspring. Now I knew I was in trouble.

Well, I climbed into the bathtub and turned on the water. AHHHHHHHHH!!

This was going to be relaxing…. Suddenly there was our version of “The Water Boy.” He had asked Kristi if he could take a bath with me after I was done. She told him to go ask Daddy. So there he was. Big old puppy dog eyes that still had tears in them.

“Daddy, can I take a bath with you when you are done?”

I knew I was trapped. “OK.” I said. “When Daddy is done you can come in here with me.”

His eyes lit up and he said, “That’ll be great!”

I went back to my book. The next time I looked up he had taken all his clothes off and had plopped himself up on the toilet. He wasn’t in a comfortable sitting position either. He had his feet on the seat and he was squatting down like a catcher. I looked at my naked son and asked him,

“What are you doing?”

“I’m waiting for you to be done.”

“Caleb. When I am done I will call for you and then you can come in. OK?”

“OK, Daddy.”

Back to my book.

Once again I hear him come into the bathroom. This time he’s carrying his toy fishing pole that he got for Christmas from his Aunt Jana.

“What are you doing, Caleb?”

“I’m just watching you.”

“Caleb you need to leave until I call you.”

He pulled up his little stool that we keep in the bathroom to help him reach the sink when he is brushing his teeth. He promptly plopped his naked buttocks down on it.

“Caleb, you can’t come in until I am done.”

“I know Daddy. I’ll just sit here and wait until you are done.”

There he sat like Opie from the Andy Griffith show, with his fishing pole and his really bad hair cut from this last week, that makes his ears stick out…

Back to my book.

In the mean time my wife was sitting out in the kitchen listening to all of this…. grinning…..

By now it was really hard to concentrate on my book. I had only twenty minutes before I had to get ready for work, and I was really looking forward to relaxing….I tried to concentrate on the words…..


I looked down in the water to see a great big plastic Fisher Price hook, connected to a colorful Fisher Price Fishing Pole, connected to the little hands of my bare son.

“Caleb. You can’t go fishing in the bathtub right now. Daddy is trying to take his bath.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” (Caleb always apologizes in threes.)

Instead of leaving he remained on his stool. I tried to read but it was getting harder and harder.

“Caleb. What are you doing now.”

“I’m just gonna sit here and wait for you to get done.”

I tried to read one last time, but I couldn’t. He sat there next to the bathtub just staring at me with those big brown “doe” eyes. His new fishing pole over his shoulder…

What could I do? He broke me down. Minute by minute he slowly and methodically broke me down and reduced me to emotional mush. My son is not a very patient three year old. I guess not many are. But I couldn’t believe how patient he was being. He wasn’t crying and whining like he usually would in this situation….

My heart went out to him.

“Caleb. Do you want to come in the bathtub now?”

“That would be great!” (One of his favourite sayings)

“OK. Come on in.”

We had a great twenty minutes of splashing, and fishing, and being kids together.

I had wanted so bad to relax and read my book. Almost wanted it too bad. I almost missed out on a good time with my boy. When I was driving to work that night I thought about how many times I have told him no. “I’m too busy.” “Maybe tomorrow.” “Not right now, Caleb. I have a video to do.”

I’m getting better. I am realizing how special your kids’ early years are and how fast they go by. So many times, even when I take the time to spend with my wife and kids, there is something inside of me which keeps saying, “Do you realize how much time you are taking doing this? Do you know how much video editing you could accomplish right now?”

I’m learning to relax. I’m learning to enjoy my free time. I’m learning to take more free time. And thanks to a wonderfully patient wife and three year old, the voice inside me is diminishing to a whisper. Sometimes I can’t even hear it. Hopefully I will block it out totally in the near future. Hopefully I will begin to hear:

“Michael. Do you realize the time you are investing in your son right now?”

“Do you realize that you are honoring your wife and building a closer relationship together?”

“Do you realize that twenty years from now it won’t matter that you didn’t get that work done as quickly as you wanted?”

“Do you realize that your sons, daughters, and wife have become the most important to you?”

I am a ways off…… But Lord willing, that day will come. Thanks for listening…..

Michael Powers

The above story is from Michael’s new book: Straight From the Heart: “A Celebration of Life.” To read more of his stories or to get your own autographed copy, visit his web site at:

Copyright © 1999 by Michael T. Powers, All rights reserved


The Bathtub