Monday, October 3, 2011


We had a family bathroom when I was little. One bathroom with two many toothbrushes for the toothbrush holder and drawers full of hair bows, deodorant and after shave. Truly a wild assortment. We also had a guest bathroom that remained fresh and clean at all times because we were not even allowed to look inside. As I reflect on this I wonder why my parents would not want their own bathroom space. Why would they choose to have their bathtub so cluttered with tear-free shampoo and bath toys? Why would they want five towels hanging around? Or a baby potty right next to the regular toilet? Plus, the only way into the family bathroom was to walk through their room. They were woken up many times to the sound of a little one making a midnight potty run or even worse, the sounds of a little one being sick. Yet I think the greatest inconvenience to my father was that his toothbrush was fully accessible to us.

I am not sure what the story was or why the toothbrush was a point of contention between my father and his mother, my grandmother. What I do know is that every time my grandmother visited she requested that me or my brother or my sister run along and fetch our father’s toothbrush for her. She would inspect it carefully and determine whether we had to throw it out or put it back. “Look at these bristles,” she would say with a frown while my father protested in the background, “LEAVE IT ALONE!” Grandma usually won and I would skip happily to the garbage can with toothbrush in hand, feeling a little devious but happy to be part of the conspiracy against my dad.

This strange exchange when my grandmother walked in the door made me feel that my dad was more relatable. He was just a bigger kid who was still getting in trouble with his mom. I felt like it put us on an equal playing field. Until I didn’t wait for my grandmother to come over and inspect the toothbrush and I just threw it away without her guidance. Then it was me, in trouble with my mother, for throwing away my dad’s toothbrush.

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